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  1. 1

    Social acceptance and demographic effects of population policy in the Netherlands.

    Leeuw FL


    The goal in this paper is to present and discuss results from several Dutch research projects dealing with the acceptance and demographic effects of new policy measures aimed at increasing fertility. The discussion covers the history of Dutch population policy since 1945, research on the acceptance of future pronatalist policy measures, a preliminary test of Mancur Olson's collective action theory applied to the relationship between population concern and acceptance of population policy, and evidence from social demographic research on the demographic impact of 1 particular type of pronatalist policy. The population has increased by over 10 million people over the last 100 years with some 45% of the increase taking place after 1945. The years immediately following the war were characterized by high birthrates. Natural population growth, mainly in the early 1950s, was attenuated by the number of persons leaving the country. This lasted until about 1960. Since then there has been an immigration surplus, yet in the 1970s the annual population growth was smaller than in the early years. A marked decrease in fertility was responsible for this. The fertility decrease is caused mostly by the fact that the number of high parity births has decreased. Since 1970, the number of 1st births also has decreased. The 1st stage in Dutch population policy covers the period 1945 to the late 1960s. In the first 15 years after World War II, the annual marked increase in population numbers worried the government and several segments of the general population, but an explicit interest on the part of the government in steering (natural) population growth did not exist. The 2nd stage of population policy covers the period from 1970 to the early 1980s. A Royal Commission on Population was established in 1972, and the essential message of their 1974 report was the termination of natural growth as soon as possible. 2 years after the publication of the Commission's final report the government stated their position, that is, for the Netherlands to reach a stationary population. During the 1970s, the total fertility rate declined from 2.6 (1970) to 1.6 (1980). It was this decline, combined with the aging of the population, that led the Interdepartmental Commission on Population Policy (ICB) in 1982 to become alert to the forecast that a stationary population of 12-14 million might not be reached in the near future. In early 1983 the government formulated a new position. The government now considers as imperative a change in the fertility trend over the next several years. If this change fails to occur, they maintain that it may be necessary to implement pronatalist policy measures. A public opinion survey conducted in early 1983 showed that 22% of the respondents responded affirmatively to the question about whether or not they would like to have more children when a pronatalist policy is introduced, yet only 12% indicated a willingness to reconsider their fertility intention upon implementation of this type of policy (N=250). Only 1/3 indicated a willingness to change their fertility intention in a pronatalist way. A government that uses data obtained from public opinion surveys instead of information stemming from demographic policy research may be deceived in the long run. More attention needs to be paid to demographic policy research.
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  2. 2

    Attitudes towards demographic trends and population policy: a comparative multi-variate analysis of survey results from Italy and the Netherlands.

    Palomba R; Menniti A; Mussino A; Moors H

    [Unpublished] 1987. Presented at the European Population Conference, 1987, Jyvaskyla, Finland, June 11-16, 1987. 18 p.

    The results of surveys of the attitudes toward current demographic trends and population policies conducted in Italy and Netherlands were compared. The Dutch and Italian surveys were comparable because their aims and parts of the questionnaire were similar, making it possible to analyze the common aspects. The Italian data were taken from a recent survey of the National Institute of Population Research. The survey population included all those of reproductive and marriageable age. 1503 interviews were conducted. The survey was initiated in November 1983 and terminated in February 1984. 952 people were interviewed in the Dutch survey, initiated in 1983. It comprised a representative 2-stage stratified random sample of the Dutch population aged 20-64 years. Both the Dutch and the Italians knew that the birthrate had been declining: 93% of the Italians and 63% of the Dutch. This trend was rated positively by 52% of the Italians and 46% of the Dutch. 52% of the Italian respondents and 58% of the Dutch wanted the population to remain stationary in the future. The 1st important difference was that in Italy the number of respondents who evaluated the birth decline negatively was about 2.5 times as high as in the Netherlands where there was a very high percentage of people who were indifferent to the problem--40% in the Netherlands, 10% in Italy. In Italy, 15% favored an increase in population size in contrast to 8% in the Netherlands. The respondents in both countries had clear ideas on the causes of the fertility decline, but the Italians generally had less set ideas than the Dutch. The economic crisis and the lack of confidence in the future were identified as the most important causes; in the Netherlands, women's work outside the home was considered to be more important than in Italy. In both countries, state intervention concerning fertility was rejected in the majority of cases--67% of the Italians and 81% of the Dutch. A 2-step elaboration was carried out for the identification of typologies of respondents. The Multiple Correspondence Analysis was carried out on 2 subjects: Knowledge and evaluation of current demographic trends; and the acceptance of population policies concerning fertility in relation to their perception of the falling birthrate. The analysis identified typologies of respondents with different levels of information and opinion towards population trends, and 4 clusters for Italy and 4 for the Netherlands were comparable. both the "pronatalist" and the antinatalist" respondents in both countries were, in general, well informed, and in both countries the "interventionists" were, in general, people with a low level of education.
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  3. 3

    [The place of the child in French society since the sixteenth century] La place de l'enfant dans la societe francaise depius le XVIe siecle.

    Lebrun F

    In: Denatalite: l'anteriorite francaise (1800-1914), edited by the Centre d'Etudes Transdisciplinaires, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Paris, France, Seuil, 1986. 247-57. (Communications No. 44)

    The author traces developments in the value placed on children and childhood in French society from the sixteenth century to the present. These developments are seen as factors underlying changes in contraceptive use and reproductive behavior in France. (ANNOTATION)
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  4. 4

    Italians' attitudes towards the births decline and the acceptance of a population policy concerning fertility

    Menniti A; Palomba R; Sabbadini LL

    In: Contribution of Italian scholars to the IUSSP XX General Conference/Contribution des Italiens au XX Congres General de l'UIESP, Firenze, 5-12 giugno 1985. Rome, Italy, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Ricerche sulla Popolazione, 1985. 125-42.

    This paper reports the results of a survey carried out in Italy in 1983-84 of attitudes and opinions concerning current demographic trends and population policy. The 1503 respondents answered questions on topics such as nuptiality, the image of marriage, life style changes, population structure, the causes and effects of the recent fertility decline, ideal and actual family size, birth spacing, and state intervention in population issues. 93% of respondents were aware that births have declined in the past 10 years, and most attributed this to economic factors. 52% of respondents indicated the fertility decline is a positive trend in light of socioeconomic factors such as unemployment and the housing crisis. In addition, 56% expressed the opinion that ideal family size in Italy (2.2 children) is congruent with actual family size. 67% of respondents indicated that the State should not interfere in any way in the reproductive behavior of Italian citizens. 26% favored intervention, either to increase (12%), maintain (8%), or decrease (6%) present fertility levels. In general, respondents equated state intervention in fertility with repression and violation of personal freedom akin to that which occurred under the fascist regime. The minority of respondents who were in favor of state intervention, either to increase or decrease fertility, expressed a preference for noncoercive measures such as public information campaigns and removal of economic barriers to parenthood. These results suggest that Italy's family policy should be based on democratic consensus and guarantee reproductive choice to couples without outside interference or reference to questions of national welfare.
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