Fertility and family policy in Latvia

Liga Abolina, University of Latvia

The aim of this paper is to analyze the relationship between fertility and family policy in order to either prove or deny that fertility rate is strongly related with and by large depends on state’s implemented family support system. The analysis is based on data provided by EUROSTAT and various Latvian sources and registers within the area of concern. The approach is different from most previous studies on this topic in Latvia, in that the author provides an exact analysis of Latvian benefit system since Latvia regained its independence (1990) until present-days. At present, Latvia has one of the most rapidly growing economies among the European Union countries. It was quite different during the first years after Latvia regained its independence, as well as during the period of severe economic crisis which struck Latvia in 2008 - demographic policies, including family policy, remained passive. Wellbeing of majority of families was seriously affected in different periods of economic development which in turn affected fertility rate. Family policy issues have gained notably increasing importance only in recent years. According fertility forecasts - in the nearest future number of women will decrease by 30% in Latvia. This factor must be taken into account while considering further steps to support fertility because it means that even if birth intensity increases the actual number of newborns wouldn’t increase or even would still slightly decrease. Since a relation between fertility and socio-economic situation exists, especially in terms of public expenditures for families Results of analysis indicate a definite, positive relation between fertility and improvements of family policy. Nevertheless, attributes such as family status, employment, and the consequences of economic crisis also emerged as having significant role in reproductive plans that affects fertility.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session 2