This study examines how individuals perceive children, focusing on two dimensions—the positive aspects of having children and the perception of children as a burden—and taking into account relations with both individual- and macro-level characteristics. Three dimensions are examined on the macro-level: policies that support families, the cultural environment, and economic conditions. The study is based on the 2012 ISSP module on “Family and Gender Roles” and covers 24 OECD countries. The findings show that countries vary widely in their negative perceptions of children, but evince relatively greater similarity in their positive perceptions. Institutional support for children and working parents and traditional family values as captured by religiosity are important factors in explaining cross-country variation in negative perceptions of children. Further, policies may help men and women adopt a more positive view of children and reduce differences among educational groups in relation to children.
- Comparative study