The Future of the Family to 2030
Why should the future of the family interest policy makers? Because it offers them a prism through which both to consider how society might change over the coming decades, and to be better prepared for those changes. It is through the lens of the family that multifaceted developments can be explored -- and perhaps anticipated -- in housing, health, work, welfare, leisure, migration, finance, economy, technology, and so on, helping policy makers to identify upcoming issues and stimulate the debate on long-term policy strategy for society. Since the 1960s the family in the OECD area has already undergone significant transformation. In many countries, the extended family has all but disappeared, and the traditional two-parent family has become much less widespread as divorce rates, re-marriages, single parenthood etc. have increased. With rising migration, cultures and values have become more diverse, with some ethnic minorities evolving as parallel family cultures while others intermingle with mainstream cultures through mixed-race marriages. Families have seen more mothers take up work in the labour market, their adolescents spend longer and longer in education and training, and the elderly members of the family live longer and, increasingly, alone. The repercussions of these changes on housing, pensions, health and long-term care, on labour markets, education and public finances, have been remarkable. So what‟s next? What sort of changes can we expect over the next twenty-five years or so – the space of a generation - and how will those changes challenge policy makers?
December 22, 2008