Spain is in Europe’s queue for more support in family protection
Spain is one of the countries in Europe that allocates the least amount of policies and resources to the care of the youngest population. Also, the Spanish family protection model, the Mediterranean, is not effective in facing the sharp drop in birth rates and improving the expectations of those who want to have more children. This is revealed by a study by the Spanish Federation of Large Families (FEFN), developed by the University of Vigo, with the support of the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030. The study analyzes family policies in several European countries, highlighting the lack of Spain’s investment in family protection and the need to review some current measures.
According to the study, Spain is one of the countries in which there is the greatest distance between desired number of children and the number one actually has and this is due to conditions that are not favorable to forming families and, especially, large families. Among the factors that impact the decision to have more children would be “the low quality of some jobs, the reduced expectations of improvement in the labor market, the difficulty in reconciling work and family life, and the poor support of public administrations for families, especially those with a greater number of children.
According to the study, Spain allocates a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to family policies that is very far from that of countries with better family protection systems, dedicating 1.5%, far below France, Denmark, Sweden or Hungary, all of them above 3%; which is linked to a family protection model, the Mediterranean, characterized by “a scarce development of explicit family policies, with small economic benefits, an average endowment in goods and services and some tax advantages.”
The consequence of all this is clear: Spain has a serious birth rate problem, the population is increasingly older, and its low birth rate does not allow it to maintain a balance between generations. “When not enough is allocated to something as important as the family and the policies do not adjust to real needs, we find ourselves in this situation. Historically, in our country the family has been one of the most valued institutions, but for years this social support has not translated into true protection of families by the administrations, and we are seeing the consequences, with a falling birth rate plummeting because families do not feel protected, they do not have a family-friendly environment,” says the president of the FEFN, José Manuel Trigo.
The FEFN considers it necessary to strengthen the family support policy, with greater investment and the review of some measures, among others, those that involve discrimination against large families, such as the non-recognition of all children within the limited income or the amount of benefits themselves.