• English

Gender and Generations Programme data expands insights into demographic changes

World Population Day, observed every year on 11 July, seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The thematic focus this year is on family planning.

As part of its ongoing work on population issues, UNECE contributes to the multi-stakeholder Generations and Gender Programme (GGP), a system of national longitudinal Generations and Gender Surveys (GGS) and a contextual database. GGP data allows researchers to explore the various factors that affect family planning, such as intentions to get married and have children, relationships between parents and children (generations) and between partners (gender). Together, these data help us to understand demographic and societal changes in the European region and beyond.

Presently, harmonized GGS microdata are available for 19 countries in wave 1 and 12 countries in wave 2 of the Gender and Generations Survey. Fieldwork is currently underway in Belarus and is being piloted in Kazakhstan.  A new memorandum of understanding on future data collection was signed by Latvia with the GGP coordination group at the occasion of the 4th GGP User Conference, hosted by the WZB Berlin Social Science Center on 6 July and 7 July 2017.

The Conference brought together over eighty participants from leading national research institutions and partner organizations to exchange knowledge and insights based on the latest research. GGP users presented and discussed research findings from more than 45 studies drawing on GGS data. Among the main topics presented were issues related to fertility determinants and intentions, the patterns of family formation and dissolution, family dynamics and life course transitions, work, gender and fatherhood.

Using GGS data, one study, for example, explored the impact of the availability of grandparents as care providers on mothers’ fertility intentions and realizations, highlighting the important role played by family support networks in compensating for weak public childcare systems. In another session chaired by Vitalija Gaucaite Wittich of UNECE's Population Unit, researchers used GGS data to analyse the interface of gender and demographic outcomes.  These included the factors affecting the division of domestic work between partners; changing gender-role attitudes; and the effects of educational differences between partners on their family-building behaviours.

Ensuring the high quality of GGP data was also highlighted as a key priority for the ongoing development of the Programme. GGP’s central administration, based at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), outlined forward-looking plans for the modernisation of GGP’s data collection and processing, which will lead to lower costs, easier harmonization, and most importantly, better quality and more immediate data accessibility for researchers.

Further details of research by GGP users presented at the Conference are available in the list of abstracts.

The Gender and Generations Programme was launched by UNECE in 2000. It is led by a consortium of sixteen leading demographic research organizations and statistical institutes. For further information and to access harmonized GGS microdata, please visit: http://www.ggp-i.org/