JSS  Vol.2 No.9 , September 2014
The Impact of Declining Fertility on Children, Parents and Policy
Author(s) Ann Buchanan
ABSTRACT
This paper, based on an international study of declining fertility, highlights the impact on children, parents and policy. Though in general, fewer children per family, are associated with young people’s increased health, well-being and education, the increase in the numbers of elderly will put pressure on women to carry the burden of, not only caring for their young, but also large numbers of elderly relatives, while at the same time contributing to a declining work force. Although there is little evidence that lone children do worse than children from a two-child family, the pressure on young people is great as they bear the hopes and aspirations of their family members and their societies to fill the gap in a world with fewer children. The paper concludes that social policy the world over will need to be alert to the impact of changing demography and the importance of investing in children so that they can contribute in a future world where they will be at a premium.

Cite this paper
Buchanan, A. (2014) The Impact of Declining Fertility on Children, Parents and Policy. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 328-335. doi: 10.4236/jss.2014.29052.
References
[1]   United Nations (2013) World Fertility Patterns 2013.
http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/fertility/world-fertility-patterns-2013.pd

[2]   Jones, G. (2013) The Growth of the One-child Family and Other Changes in the Low Fertility Countries of Asia. In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137030399.0008

[3]   Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A. (2013) Falling Fertility and Population Decline: No Time for Children. Palgrave Macmillan, London.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137030399

[4]   Roberts, J., Williams, K. and Buchanan, A. (2013) Why Are Women Having Fewer Children: The Views of Mumsnet Users. In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London.

[5]   Zheng, Z.Z. (2013) The Choice of Having a Second Child and Its Implications for Future Family Structure in China. In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137030399.0015

[6]   Perelli-Harris, B and Issoupova, O. (2013) Crisis and Control: Russia’s Dramatic Fertility Decline and Efforts to Increase It. In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London.

[7]   Benton, L. and Newell, M.-L. (2013) Childbearing and the Impact of HIV: The South African Experience. In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137030399.0016

[8]   Haskey, J. (2013) Childlessness: Choice and Circumstances. In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London, 62-81.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137030399.0009

[9]   Rotkirch, A. (2013) Baby Fever and Longing for Children. In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London, 249-266.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137030399.0022

[10]   Basten, S. (2013) Declining Fertility, Television and the (Mis) Representation of Motherhood. In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London, 185-202. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137030399.0017

[11]   Office for National Statistics (2013) Births in England and Wales by Parents’ Country of Birth, 2012.
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_325310.pdf

[12]   Harper, S. (2013) Falling Fertility, Ageing and the Demographic Deficit. In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London, 221-229.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137030399.0020

[13]   Grandparent Plus (2013) Press Release. Time to Care about Kinship Care.
http://www.grandparentsplus.org.uk/press-release

[14]   United Nations Data Statistics (2011) UN: Page 1.
http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?d=SOWC&f=inID%3A127.

[15]   United National Development Programme (2010) UNDP Report 2010.
http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2010/chapters/en/

[16]   United National Development Programme (2010) UNDP Report 2010, Page 3.
http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2010/chapters/en/

[17]   United National Development Programme (2009) UNDP Report 2009, Gini Index.
http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/indicators/161.html

[18]   Miller, B.D. (2001) Female-Selective Abortion in Asia: Patterns, Policies and Debates. American Anthropologist, 103, 1083-1095.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/aa.2001.103.4.1083

[19]   Fenton, N. (1928) The Only Child. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 35, 546-556.

[20]   Falbo, T. and Polit, D. (1986) Quantitative Review of the Only Child Literature: Research Evidence and Theory Development. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 176-189.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.100.2.176

[21]   Van Gaalen, R.I., Dykstra, P.A. and Flap, H. (2008) Inter-generational Contact beyond the Dyad: The Role of the Sibling Network. European Journal of Ageing, 5, 19-29.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10433-008-0076-6

[22]   Wellman, B. and Wortley, S. (1989) Brothers’ Keepers: Situating Kinship Relations in Broader Networks of Social Support. Sociological Perspectives, 32, 273-306.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1389119

[23]   Legge, J. (1893) Lun Yu (The Analects). Clarendon Press, Oxford.

[24]   Layard, R. (2005) Happiness: Lessons from a New Science. Penguin Group USA, London.

[25]   Hesketh, T., Zhen, Y., Lu, L., Dong, Z.X., Jun, Y.X. and Xing, Z.W. (2009) Stress and Psychosomatic Symptoms in Chinese School Children: Cross Sectional Survey. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95, 136-140.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/adc.2009.171660

[26]   Hesketh, T., Ding, Q.J. and Jenkins, R. (2002) Suicide Ideation in Chinese Adolescents. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 37, 230-235.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00127-002-0536-9

[27]   The Guardian (2014) The New Boom in Home Tuition—If You Can Pay £40 an Hour.
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/oct/25/new-boom-home-tuition.

[28]   Office for National Statistics (2005) Mental Health in Children and Young People in Great Britain.
http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-statistics/children-young-people/

[29]   Grundy, E. and Henretta, J. (2006) Between Elderly Parents and Adult Children: A New Look at the Intergenerational Care Provided by the “Sandwich Generation”. Ageing and Society, 26, 707-722.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X06004934

[30]   Bengtson, V.L. and Martin, P. (2001) Families and Intergenerational Relationships in Aging Societies: Comparing the United States with German-Speaking Countries. Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie, 34, 207-217.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s003910170065

[31]   Grandparent Plus (2012) Report of Seminar.
http://www.grandparentsplus.org.uk/conferences-and-seminars

[32]   O’Brien, S. (2012) How to Avoid Sandwich Generation Problems.
http://seniorliving.about.com/od/babyboomers/a/sandwich-generation.htm.

[33]   Ward, R. and Spitze, G. (1998) Sandwiched Marriages: The Implications of Child and Parent Relations for Marital Quality in Midlife. Social Forces, 77, 647-666.

[34]   Williams, C. (2004) The Sandwich Generation, Perspectives 5-12, Statistics Canada, Catalogue 75-001-XIE.
http://ivt.crepuq.qc.ca/popactive/documentation2005_A/2004/2004-09-01.pdf

[35]   ILC Global Alliance (2021) Global Perspectives on Multigenerational Households and Intergenerational Relations.
http://www.ilc-alliance.org/images/uploads/publicationpdfs/Global_Alliance_
Intergenerational_Relations_March_2012.pdf


[36]   Office for National Statistics (2013) Statistical Bulletin: Births in England and Wales, 2013.
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_371129.pdf

[37]   Esping-Andersen, G. (2013) Chapter 17: Investing in Early Childhood. In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London, 288-302.

[38]   Heckman and Masterov (2007) The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy 29, 3, 446-493.

[39]   Perry, B.D. (2002) Childhood Experience and the Expression of Genetic Potential: What Childhood Neglect Tells Us about Nature and Nurture. Brain and Mind, 3, 79-100.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1016557824657

[40]   Lee, Y.-J. (2006) Risk Factors in the Rapidly Rising Incidence of Divorce in Korea. Asian Population Studies, 2, 113-132.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17441730600923091

[41]   Economist (2006) A Guide to Womenomics: The Future of the World Economy Lies Increasingly in Female Hands.
http://www.economist.com/node/6802551

[42]   Economist (2006) The Importance of Sex. Forget China, India and the Internet: Economic Growth Is Driven by Women.
http://www.economist.com/node/6800723

[43]   Gauthier, A.H. (2013) Chapter 16: Family Policy and Fertility: Do Policies Make a Difference? In: Buchanan, A. and Rotkirch, A., Eds., Fertility Rates and Population Decline: No Time for Children? Palgrave Macmillan, London, 269-287.

[44]   Compton, R. and Lyonette, C. (2006) Work-Life “Balance” in Europe. Acta Sociologica, 49, 379-393.

[45]   Hobson, C.J., Delunas, L. and Kesic, D. (2011) Compelling Evidence of the Need for Corporate Work/Life Balance Initiatives: Results from a National Survey of Stressful Life-Events. Journal of Employment Counselling, 38, 38-44.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-1920.2001.tb00491.x

[46]   Shea, T.F. (2003) Help with Elder Care: Elder Care Benefits Range from Basic to Comprehensive as Employers Help Employees Cope with This Growing Need. HR Magazine: Compensation & Benefits Agenda, 48, No. 9.
http://www.shrm.org/Publications/hrmagazine/EditorialContent/Pages/0903shea.aspx

[47]   Burke, L. (2003) The Impact of Maternal Depression on Familial Relationships. International Review of Psychiatry, 15, 243-255.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0954026031000136866

 
 
Top