Doing Better for Families

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The OECD has just published its first-ever report on family well-being, “Doing Better for Families”. The report concludes that poverty in households with children is rising in nearly all OECD countries. One in five children in Israel, Mexico, Turkey, the United States and Poland live in poverty. The report documents how families across the OECD have changed dramatically in just a generation.

The OECD recommends that governments should:

-Ensure that work pays for both parents, including through assistance with childcare costs.

-Help families combine work and care commitments.

-Design parental leave systems that encourage more fathers to take and share leave and promote their engagement with homecare responsibilities.

-Start investing in family policies during the early years and sustain investment throughout childhood.

-Ensure high-quality childcare services are linked to improved cognitive development, especially for children from poor households.

In the case of Spain, families find it difficult to combine work and family life. At only 1.4 children per woman, fertility rates in Spain have been amongst the lowest in the OECD for the past two decades. Child poverty in Spain, at 17.3 percent, is also considerably higher than the OECD average of 12.7%. And although public support on family benefits increased between 2003 and 2007 to 1.6 percent of GDP, it still remained below the OECD average of 2.2 percent. 

For further reading, visit www.oecd.org/social/family/doingbetter