Family policy in France

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This page gives information of type family policy about the country France.
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This page provides an overview of family policy in France.

Context of family structure

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Context of fertility

France had low fertility relative to other European countries until 1950, so some basic pro-natalist steps began in 1939 with the Family Allowance Code. The pro-natalist policy took off on a bigger scale in 1977, after fertility had fallen below replacement.

Policy timeline

Year Event Postulated effects seen in fertility statistics
1938 the state created the Family Code (Code de la famille ), which provided an annual stipend (colloquially known as the “Housewife’s Allowance”) to parents for each child. data unavailable
1978 Housewife's Allowance was abolished, replaced by state-run day-care centers and a National Family Allowance Fund. The stipend just covered the costs of sending the kids to the new day-care facilities. downward trend in fertility reversed for the 4-5 years immediately following the change, but then resumed.
1997 "New Family Policy" that provides increased subsidies to families with multiple children, with the per-child subsidy increasing as the number of children increases. downward trend in fertility reversed following the change, but the contribution of the change is unclear (because much of the increased fertility was from recently migrated people and the persistence of the fertility increase may have been due to more migration rather than the policy changes).

Qualitative characteristic of policy

Family policy in France is characterized as pro-natalist in Gauthier's classification of family policy: it is designed to promote fertility through any means whatsoever. France includes inducements to have kids that are directed at working mothers (these include provision of day care centers, family leave, and tax credits) as well as at stay-at-home mothers (these include cash allowances). Overall, the purpose is not to encourage either of the two arrangements over the other but rather to encourage having more children within whatever arrangement one happens to choose.