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09.04.2013 - Ausgabe: 2/2013

How child-friendly is Europe?

Denmark is the leader – Germany is trailing behind.


Currently, 100 women in Europe have about 140 children. In order to stabilise the population, however, a further 50 per cent is required. But how child-friendly are the individual countries in Europe?

The Foundation for Future Studies (BAT-Stiftung für Zukunftsfragen) tackled this issue in its latest European survey and representatively questioned over 11,000 Europeans over the age of 14 from ten countries. The result: Denmark was by far superior when it came to the topic of child-friendliness. Nine out of ten Danes rated their home as child-friendly. And whilst at least almost half of Spaniards, the Dutch and Greeks claimed this was true of their country, in Germany this was only the case for every seventh citizen in their perception of child-friendliness in society.

Professor Dr. Ulrich Reinhardt, the scientific director of the Foundation for Future Studies, explains that one of the reasons, among others, for the Danes’ high level of satisfaction and the high rate of personal freedom in the Kingdom of Denmark is that: “It doesn’t matter if you look at the number of working women, the quota of female bosses, the number of places in day-care nurseries or the possibility of combining a career and family – overall, Denmark was clearly well above the European average. In addition, the significance of family as well as its societal recognition is extremely important.”

East Germans and City Dwellers are particularly critical

The German citizens are less likely to take notice of child-friendliness, however. In the annual comparison to 2010, the value has gone down considerably – from 21 per cent to currently just 15 per cent. In addition, German citizens also appear to be divided on the topic of child-friendliness. West Germans and country dwellers rate the topic much more positively than city dwellers and citizens in Eastern Germany. Additionally, with respect to the age of citizens, there are great differences here too – the older a citizen, the more negative the child-friendliness tends to be perceived. Nevertheless, irrespective of age, gender, background, income or other distinctive features, the value remains low in all subgroups.

Professor Reinhardt: “More places in day-care nurseries and all-day schools, introduction of childcare funds or separate funds for parents – undoubtedly, these all help many families. However, such measures reveal nothing about the child-friendliness in everyday life in our society. This would start with an infrastructure which isn’t just targeted at adults but takes into account more so the needs of families and children as well as a working environment permitting the combination of work and family. However, child-friendliness in everyday life also comprises odds and ends, from the slices of sausage at the butcher to the neighbour who doesn’t complain immediately when it gets noisy in the next room.”

Thus, politics and economy are required as these determine the framework conditions. Likewise, every single citizen is required to encourage further tolerance and respect. Everyone should always be aware: The noise of children is actually the music of the future.

You can find further information at www.stiftungfuerzukunftsfragen.de


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