How Non Traditional Families Contribute to Demographic Change

How Non Traditional Families Contribute to Demographic Change


Graziella Romeo, Associate Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law at Bocconi University, is the Principal Investigator of the research project “Aligning with Law Family Arrangements: Non-traditional Families’ Contribution to Addressing Italy’s Demographic Crisis” (ALFA), which obtained a € 187K grant from Fondazione Cariplo.
Following the new trends in family and fertility patterns, the ALFA research project intends to analyze actual and potential demographic changes affecting the Italian population, since, according to recent reports, there is a sharp decline in traditional nuclear families. Contrary to the accepted wisdom, which considers the demographic crisis as a consequence of the crisis of the traditional family, this research project argues that non-traditional families are not necessarily the motive of the demographic crisis.
Little is known about the fertility of non-traditional families. In fact, this project is the first to systematically evaluate fertility patterns and childrearing plans among all families that eschew the paradigm of the traditional heterosexual couple with children.
Non-traditional family’s fertility could be actual or potential. In fact, actual fertility is the number of children they have. While the latter indicates whether and how many children they would have, if the legal and material obstacles to becoming parents were removed. Therefore, ALFA adopts an interdisciplinary approach, that combines demographic research with socio-legal research for understanding their ‘potential’ to contribute to demographic change.
This project focuses on Italy because it has peculiar characteristics. In the Italian case, non-traditional families are starting to represent a non-negligible share of the population, but they still have limited rights, especially when the rights at stake concern parent-child relationships.
The project will also put together researchers from Bocconi’s Department of Law (Francesco Paolo Patti), NOVA School of Law (Nausica Palazzo), University of Trento (Agnese Vitali), and University College London (Maria Sironi and Alice Goisis).
With the “Social and Human Sciences in a changing society” grant, Fondazione Cariplo supports studies grounded on demographic and statistical data, since Italy has been
experiencing a structural process of demographic change for a while. Therefore, Fondazione Cariplo aims to accompany the ever-changing society through developing valuable reflections within the social and human sciences. 

by Weiwei Chen
Bocconi Knowledge newsletter


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