By Autonomous Province of Trento, Agency for Family, Birth and Youth Policies
The Provincial government intends to confirm the role played by family policies in its government action by focusing on the full promotion of the family and its social function. The particular value of the family lies indeed in its intrinsic nature as a place for the creation of fundamental bonds, as an entity able to provide care and support for people, give meaning to life, and as an organization able to promote social and economic development and social cohesion.
In recent years, the implementation of Law No.1/2011 has favored the development of an integrated system of family policies aimed at fostering a local culture conducive to family welfare. Birth rate indicators are better than the national average, though not sufficient. The Provincial government intends to activate a Strategic Plan for Family Welfare to introduce those trust-based conditions in our community that are necessary to enable families and young people to carry out their life projects. The goal of this legislative term is to increasingly qualify Trentino as a “family-friendly” territory that is welcoming and attractive for families and for those who interact with them.
We live in a country that has fewer and fewer children: in just ten years, from 2008 to 2018, births declined by 22% and statistical forecasts hint at dramatic “demographic winter” scenarios for the years to come. This is a real demographic emergency that inevitably brings with it a social and an economic emergency. This trend is present not only in countries with a slowed-down economy, but it affects all European countries, even those with high growth rates, almost suggesting a sort of intrinsic incompatibility between “economic growth” and “demographic growth”.
As far as the causes are concerned, it is now scientifically evident that the drop in birth rates is not due to just one single reason, but to a number of reasons of economic, social, cultural, ethical nature… What is certain is that the demographic shock will have a direct impact not only on the society, but also and above all on the economy, both at a macrosystem level (sustainability of welfare and public accounts) and at a micro-system level, with repercussions on families (that will be smaller and smaller in size, ever older and with ever smaller parental/family networks) and on businesses (with ever older workers and with repercussions on company productivity and the transfer of skills).
Data are extremely critical and the future demographic trend hints at further birth rate declines. In order to reverse this trend, strong measures are needed, able to have an impact at different levels and in different areas. Policies generally need long periods before bearing fruits, and there is no guarantee of good results.