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Understanding families better with FReDA

Federal government supports ISS joint research project.

Last Monday, the FReDa partners received the official notifications of funding. From left to right: Prof. Dr. Karsten Hank (ISS), Dr. Michael Meister(Parliamentary State Secretary, BMBF), Dr. Martin Bujard, PhD (BiB) and Prof. Dr. Christof Wolf (GESIS)

Why do couples decide to have children and why are children's wishes often not realised? How do family forms change and what does this mean for relationships, family ties or the cohesion of the generations? To better understand these and other questions of family and demographic development, research based on solid data and innovative methods is necessary. Last week, a research project was launched in this sense with substantial participation of the Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology (ISS) of the University of Cologne, which will create a new family demographic data infrastructure.

The study "FReDA - The Family Demographic Panel" is being jointly developed by the ISS, the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) and the Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences GESIS. At the core of this data collection are annual repeat surveys of 18- to 49-year-old women and men in a representative sample. The data will be made available free of charge to the scientific community, the public and politicians.

What is new for a survey of this size is that a web-based survey is combined with classical surveys. This not only saves money, but also reaches the target groups better. The findings for Germany can be systematically compared with other countries.

This major scientific project is jointly funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Ministry of the Interior, Building and Homeland Affairs (BMI). The BMBF will provide start-up funding of 12.5 million euros until 2024, and the BMI has announced that it will ensure the continuation of the project if the evaluation is positive.

Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek is looking forward to the study: "In order to be able to provide targeted support for families, we need to know how attitudes towards family and children are changing. It is worthwhile to investigate this thoroughly. The studies must also ensure international comparability so that countries can learn from each other. I am already looking forward to the results that the new data infrastructure for family and generation research will collect. It is also designed in such a way that it will always take up new research questions and thus always remain up to date.