Change in Family Structure: New Challenges and Social Policies

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Mehmet AYSAN, Istanbul Sehir University, Turkey
In the second half of the 20th century, total fertility rates (the average number of children per woman) in Turkey declined gradually as it had in many industrialized countries. In 2010s, total fertility rates in Turkey were down to two children and even lower in certain regions, especially in Western Anatolia. This situation has mobilized an effort to formulate policies that counter the adverse economic effects of the rapid decline in fertility rates and, indirectly, of the aging population. However, comparative demographic studies show that the decline in fertility has a complex causal structure and that it is impossible to understand this process through economic causes alone. This study makes use of data on Turkish families (Turkish Family Structure Survey) conducted by the TURKSTAT in 2006 and 2016 to explain the factors that influence fertility from a sociological perspective with special emphasis on the transformation of families in Turkey. The main argument of this paper is that low fertility rates can be understood through social and cultural changes in Turkey, and particularly through the analysis of the transformation of the Turkish family structure. Social policy recommendations will be discussed at the end of the study.