Family Support Agency and Social Attitude and Policy Research Group, Trinity College
Margret Fine-Davis, Attitudes to Family Formation in Ireland: Findings from the Nationwide Study, Dublin, Family Support Agency and Social Attitude and Policy Research Group, Trinity College, December, 2011
Research is a key responsibility for the Family Support Agency in developing its clearly defined role
in the area of family services and policy. Knowing the extent and nature of the shifts in family life is
vital if we are to cater for the needs of families. In the current environment of uncertainty as to the
level of resources available to support parents and children, it is even more crucial that we have
accurate and comprehensive information on Irish family life.
This study examines attitudes to family formation and having children in a sample survey of 1,400
Irish men and women between the age of 20 and 49 from various family structures and from a variety
of socio-economic groups. The findings provide an enthralling insight into how changes in Irish
society in recent decades have greatly transformed the landscape with regard to family formation,
child-bearing and family well-being.
This study provides us with a greater understanding of the effects of changing attitudes and behaviours
towards family formation in Ireland and also provides crucial information that will help focus minds
on the economic and social issues currently affecting family formation in Ireland. This information
is critical as it helps us to understand how and why these changes are taking place so that we can
fulfil our role in the Family Support Agency to greatest effect in guiding policy for the benefit of
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