Family Festival 2019 - Trento, from 2 to 7 December
Declining birth rates: a demographic, cultural and economic emergency. What are the consequences, and what possible effective counter-measures can be taken? This is the theme of the Festival in its 8th year
The 2019 edition of the Family Festival will focus on declining birth rates and related topics. We live in a country where the number of new births is continuously decreasing: in just ten years, from 2008 to 2018, the number of births declined by 22% and statistical forecasts hint at dramatic scenarios of “demographic vacuum” in the years to come. This is a true and proper demographic emergency, which will inevitably bring with it a social and economic emergency.
This trend does not affect only economically declining countries, but all European countries, even those with high economic growth rates, almost suggesting a sort of intrinsic incompatibility between “economic growth” and “demographic growth”.
The various seminars and workshops of the Family Festival will focus on the consequences that such a demographic decline will have on the local territory and at a national and international level. As far as the causes of this decline are concerned, it is now scientifically recognized that the birth rates fall cannot be traced back to just one single reason, but to a combination of different economic, social, cultural and ethical motivations. What is sure is that this demographic shock will have a direct impact not only on the society, but also, and above all, on the economy, with consequences both at a macro-system level (sustainability of the welfare system and public finances), and at a micro-system level. This means that this trend will directly affect families (that are becoming smaller and smaller in number, while family members grow older and older and parental/friendship networks are getting weaker and weaker), and the business community (with increasingly older workers, with consequences on corporate productivity and on the transfer of know-how and skills).
During the Festival, a large number of seminars will focus on and discuss policies implemented in different European countries to counter declining birth rates. These policies include income-support measures for families with children, work-life balance policies and services, measures aimed at helping and supporting young people in their transition to adulthood, and finally employment and housing policies.
Demographic trends are certainly going to be among the most significant challenges for the local economy, as they can increase competitiveness, productivity and the appeal of local territories. Indeed, the economic and social development will increasingly depend not only on economic policies, but also on family welfare policies, that, by helping people remain on the territory, may trigger off wellbalanced demographic trends, with sustainable relationships between young people and the elderly. It will thus be possible to ensure a good level of prosperity and high quality health and welfare services for future generations.