Abstract

Purpose: This article contains a comparative analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of population policies in European Union (EU) countries, using multivariate analysis.

Data and Methods: To study these differences, it is primarily necessary to have the relevant data. The most recent database available was developed by the OECD in 2007 and currently covers OECD countries and most EU Member States. We used multivariate analysis to categorize the indicators into the following groups: (a) economic indicators, (b) indicators reconciling work and family life, and (c) demographic indicators.

Results: The results of measuring the degree of coherence of factors reveal that the four most important factors influencing the effectiveness of population policy are (i) the average maternal age at first childbirth, (ii) social protection expenditure, (iii) GDP, and (iv) public spending for benefits. Based on the data from the evaluation of the correlation matrix of variables and data, the classification of countries, according to the values of the coefficients of analysis, appears as follows: the Nordic countries (together with France and the United Kingdom), the Southern European countries and the Northern countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (by a very slight margin Romania), and Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia (and, marginally, Malta).

Conclusions: The key comparative findings from benchmarking best practices in the context of the European experience are the following: The EU is being demographically transformed as a direct result of an increase in average life expectancy and immigration and a decrease in fertility. Demographic factors are influenced by specific features, in contrast with economic factors which seem be less stable.