Changes in family policy in Latvia in the last years

Liga Abolina, University of Latvia
Peteris Zvidrins, University of Latvia

The aim of this paper is to characterize the changes in family policy of Latvia in the last years. The authors will analyze development of family support services in Latvia using the annually collected data. Data for the present study are drawn from Population Census of 2011, the national databases of Central Statistical Bureau and other governmental institutions. Our results confirm that the fertility decline in Latvia in 2009 – 2011 was affected by economical crisis. In order to continue to maintain a certain level of support for families some structural changes were made and level of support for families were reduced. In 2014 a number of improvements concerning amount and terms of subsidies for families are foreseen, which should have a positive impact on fertility. Meanwhile some essential family support measures are already introduced in 2013 in order to improve possibility to reconcile work and family life. The family policy in Latvia has strongly approached to strengthen the traditional family as a concept thereby to increase level of nuptiality and decrease indices of divorce, simultaneously improving the fertility. We find that the available statistics do not confirm that the level of concluded marriages clearly affects the fertility. Following the demographic tendencies in EU Member States, it seems impossible that even mutually coordinated measures towards strengthening the marriage institution into the state policy would have significant positive impact on fertility indicators. In authors’ opinion, it is crucial to realize that the realities of present social structure and values are so that the state cannot facilitate increase of fertility only by strengthening conventional family institution but also needs to address properly other forms of families. The government should send clear signals to population that the already established family support system is predictable and the society can rely on it.

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Presented in Poster Session 3