Switzerland is one of the countries in Europe that invests the least in active family support.
Despite this – perhaps because of it! – birth rates are rising, especially among the middle class and the well-educated. There is a lot of speculation and very different explanations among demographers, sociologists and economists about this (weak, but still measurable) trend. It opens up highly optimistic demographic perspectives, because apparently it is not the case that the number of children worldwide automatically decreases with increasing prosperity.
I explain it like this: originally, having children was the only provision for old age within the family. Today, children are a personal and partnership challenge, and perhaps one of the best human and fellow human investments in an interesting, fulfilled life. Children are “worth it” – all things considered, even if it costs a lot until they are independent.
Based on surveys, the happiness researcher Prof. Bruno Frey has determined that having one’s own children, because they also cause a lot of worries, is generally not considered a happiness factor. This is different with grandchildren. The majority of people perceive them as a source of happiness, which is likely to be an additional factor in view of the increasing importance of this age phase. You are challenged by children and you learn a lot from them. Children also occasionally educate their parents and cement partnerships.
Certainly, there is also a happy and prosperous life without children and grandchildren, but the more purely material considerations fade into the background, the more important the positive challenges of parenthood and grandparenthood become, and that is apparently enough to trigger a tendency towards rising birth rates with increasing prosperity, Who would have thought it!
From a certain standard of living onwards, there is also a cost-benefit calculation beyond the purely financial and fiscal and – above all – beyond all state influence. The demand to do without children out of consideration for ecology has not yet prevailed. State control and support is – fortunately – not the main motive for having children. The freer the choice of partner and the more open the labour market, the more that which has been a desirable (but hardly ever fully achieved) goal for a majority for millennia, long before there were states and welfare states and before happiness was empirically researched, prevails: a happy family.