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Vulnerability and the future
of families with children
in Europe



Presentation of the results of the
European Union 7th Framework Project ‘FamiliesAndSocieties’,
organized by the International Federation for Family Development (IFFD), in partnership
with the United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development,
the Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU),
Vienna Institute of Demography / Austrian Academy of Sciences
and the European Large Families Confederation (ELFAC).
Thursday, 1 February 2018
10.00-11.30 am – Conference Room D
United Nations Headquarters
New York, NY


Flyer ...


Opening Remarks
Mario Armella
World President
International Federation for Family Development (IFFD)
Remarks ...
The dynamic entity and growing complexity of families
Ignacio Socías
Director of International Relations
International Federation for Family Development (IFFD)
Partner of FamiliesAndSocieties Consortium
Presentation ...
A survey on the living conditions of large families
Laszlo Marki
European Large Families Confederation (ELFAC)
Partner of FamiliesAndSocieties Consortium
Presentation ...
What causes vulnerability and its reproduction?
Bernhard Riederer
Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/OEAW, WU)
Vienna Institute of Demography / Austrian Academy of Sciences
Co-leader of FamiliesAndSocieties Work Package 10
Presentation ...
Full publication in PDF ...
Alberto Padova
Chief, Social Integration Branch
Division for Social Policy and Development
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
The research leading to the publication presented in this event has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement no. 320116 for the research project ‘FamiliesAndSocieties’. Publishing was supported via the Linnaeus Center on Social Policy and Family Dynamics in Europe, SPaDE (Swedish Research Council, grant number 349-2997-8701) at Stockholm University Demography Unit. Publishing was also supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): Z171-G11.
This programme is subject to change without prior notice.



To understand the everyday realities of modern societies, we need to recognize that family is a dynamic entity, characterized by growing complexity with respect to decision-making regarding transitions over the family life course and the organization of family life. The family can no longer be described simply as a set of well-defined roles; they are negotiated on a daily basis, constructed by interactions between partners at the micro-level, and influenced by macro structures within the political and economic spheres. Work and family lives increasingly influence each other as both women and men engage in earning as well as caring activities, often reinforced by increasing employment instability and precariousness.
Gender relations and related values and attitudes have become more fluid, changing dynamically over the life course in the context of blurring boundaries of family and work life. In this sea of change, those families identified as vulnerable are exposed to greater risks that can be alleviated by well-designed policy. As such, the key policy recommendations that will be presented at the event are based on main findings of the large-scale European Union Seventh Framework project, ‘Changing families and sustainable societies: Policy contexts and diversity over the life course and across generations’ (FamiliesAndSocieties). The objectives of the project included the investigation of the diversity of family forms, relationships, and life courses in Europe, an assessment of the compatibility of existing policies to ongoing family changes, and contributions to evidence-based future policy-making.
Within the project research was organised in 12 interrelated work packages that focused on different topics. The issues addressed comprise new family configurations and life goals, new gender roles, new meanings of children, the development and spread of artificial reproductive technologies, implications of the changes in the family life course for sustainable societies, inequalities in children’s life chances, childcare arrangements and their consequences, intergenerational links, migrants and social inclusion/exclusion, and analyses of crucial family-policy issues in Europe.
One of the twelve work packages addressed possible futures of the families in Europe. Its main objective was to inform policy-makers about possible developments and their potential impact on family needs and family well-being in the long run. In order to meet this objective, several closely interrelated foresight activities were conducted. The research scheme included qualitative as well as quantitative methods.

1. What will be the most important topics for the future of families in Europe?
2. What is vulnerability and why is it so important for the future of families?
3. Which family types are particularly in danger of living in vulnerable situations?
4. How will vulnerability of families with children develop in the future?
5. Which factors might drive the vulnerability of families with children and their well-being?
6. What policies will be relevant to stop intergenerational vulnerability reproduction?
7. What are the implications of increasing union dissolution and re-partnering?
8. How will current and future refugee flows affect future vulnerability of families?
9. What may be future consequences of the ongoing ‘gender revolution’?

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