The analysis “Paths to the Third Child – An International Comparison of Family Policy Measures” published in December 2023 by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) (authors: Natalie Klauser and Magdalena Bohrer) impressively underlines the social relevance of the family model of the “multi-child family” or the “large family”.
For far too long, this topic has been a “blind spot” (cf. Bertelsmann study 2022, p. 92), which has been avoided both politically and socially. At least since the latest figures on the shortage of skilled workers, one would do well to put aside the step-motherly approach to the discourse about the “extended family” lifestyle and approach the topic openly with all statistical sobriety. The numbers, also published monthly by the Federal Institute for Population Research (BIB), speak their own language. Prof. Dr. Martin Bujard, deputy director of the BIB and head of the family and fertility research area there, summarizes it as follows: “The decline in births in Germany is largely – more than 2/3 – due to the decline in large families. In order to move from birth rates of around 1.4 children per woman to one close to the equalization rate, more couples would have to decide to have a third child.”
The authors of the text underline the importance of large families for the resilience and survival of society. It is clearly stated and recognized in a European comparison the need to critically question the previous – as it says in the text – “two-child norm” and to advocate for a multi-child family policy.
The analysis also clearly shows what challenges families with many children face in their everyday lives and what circumstances prevent couples from fulfilling their desire to have several children:
- a lack of political will to provide financial relief, especially tax relief, for families with large children,
- a lack of appreciation for the educational work provided in these families
- a lack of quality-assured care infrastructure, which makes it difficult to combine family and work.
From the German Large Families Association KRFD’s perspective, the connection between the lack of or inadequate care infrastructure and the professional and financial risks of prolonged self-care have a particularly negative impact. It is therefore urgent to actively present families with large children as a future-oriented family concept and to promote the diverse implementation variants of this family model much more than before – because families are not only relevant for themselves, but also have an immense positive impact on the entire society and its future viability.
The KRFD is in active contact with family associations in other European countries and sees these fundamental demands as being in line with the concerns of families across Europe. The association therefore welcomes the focus on this topic and will be happy to actively participate in the discourse.