The Family branch of the Social Trends Institute seeks to enhance the understanding of marriage and family life in contemporary societies around the world. This branch is also dedicated to exploring the ways in which strong and stable families serve the common good in the modern world.
In service of its mission, the Family branch sponsors original research and Experts Meetings that explore the state of the family around the globe. The Family branch also supports the Marriage Matters Project
, which seeks to understand the cultural and social sources of marital quality and stability among young adults in the United States.
To date, STI's Family branch has held the following Experts Meetings:The Family FoundationFamily scholars from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania gathered in Washington DC April 22-24, 2012 at the offices of Child Trends – a non-profit research center dedicated to improving outcomes for children – for the Family Foundation Experts Meeting. Participants presented research that would inform the report titled Mapping Family Change and Child Well-being Outcomes. University of Virginia sociologist Brad Wilcox led the Experts Meeting, and prepared the TFF report with Laura Lippman from Child Trends. it was released in English in the winter of 2012, and is expected in Spanish in the spring of 2013.
By bringing in scholars from different disciplines from leading universities around the globe, the 2013 World Family Map report aims to present the best and most accurate portrait possible of the family-education nexus.Whither the Child? Causes, Consequences & Responses to Low Fertility
From March 11-13, 2010, this meeting explored the cultural causes of low fertility around the globe, the social and economic consequences of low fertility for adults and children, and cultural and policy responses to low fertility. Professor Brad Wilcox of the University of Virginia served as academic director.
The meeting gave rise to The Sustainable Demographic Dividend
report. STI has translated the report into Spanish as El Dividendo Demográfico Sostenible
The original papers presented at the Experts Meeting have been published together by Paradigm as Whither the Child? Causes and Consecuences of Low Fertility
Why Marriage is in the Public Interest
From December 16-18, 2004, Professor Robert P. George led STI’s second Family branch Experts Meeting at Princeton University. The event, which was organized by the Witherspoon Institute
and sponsored by STI, was hosted by the James Madison Program in American Ideals
The meeting covered a wide range of issues affecting the institution of marriage as it stands today. Some of these issues included the modern meaning of marriage, divorce, the decay of marriage in the Western world in recent years, children and the family, the legal changes marriage has precipitated (or been affected by), the question of same-sex marriage, and the movement for civil unions.
The papers presented were published in the volume The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market and Morals
Additionally, ten basic principles that came out of the meeting were highlighted in a publication that is available in English (Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles
), in Spanish (Matrimonio y bien común: los diez principios de Princeton
) and in German (Ehe und Gemeinwohl. Zehn Leitlinien
).Family Policies in Western Countries
On April 27th, 2004, STI held its first Experts Meeting on Family Policies at the Columbus Hotel in Rome. Professor Pierpaolo Donati from the University of Bologna presented a background paper and participants were invited to present their own views or a commentary on Professor Donati's remarks in an original paper.
This private meeting explored issues such as the principles that inspire family policies today, major trends in Western family law, the family as an economic agent, the problem of defining the family in Western politics, and the impact of globalization, to name a few. Participants included experts from Italy, Great Britain, the United States, Norway, Spain and Germany.