Study title
Microcensus family in Switzerland
Ref study 979
Study language German
Contributing institutions
  • Familie
  • Werte
  • Lebensformen
  • Einstellung
  • Lebenslaufforschung
Retrospektive Lebensverlaufsstudie
Geographical space
  • Switzerland
At the beginning of the 1990s, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) launched a project to conduct international comparative surveys on family and birth rates in European countries (Fertility and Family Surveys - FFS).
For the past three decades, Europe has seen profound changes in birth rates, education and family structures. In this context, various authors speak of a "second demographic upheaval". In many European countries, the following trends are emerging: declining birth rates, together with combined birth rates which remain below the level necessary for generational survival (1.49 in Switzerland at the time of the survey in 1994 and 1.50 in 1996), a declining tendency to marry and the emergence of new family forms (consensual couples, single-parent families, blended families). If these trends continue, significant demographic consequences are to be expected, with correspondingly drastic consequences for social and economic organisation (one issue is above all the ageing of the population).
The collection of biographical data makes it possible to collect detailed information at the individual level, which supplements the census data. The course of life in our society is becoming increasingly complex and diverse. Censuses can collect little information on the biography of individuals, but this information is essential for understanding and explaining changes in behaviour in terms of birth rates and partnership. The collection of biographical data thus provides an important basis for statistics and scientific research. Another objective of this study is to provide information to those involved in the development of family and social policies. An optional module of the questionnaire (not adopted by Switzerland) is dedicated to population policy and serves to monitor the effectiveness of this policy. The plan for an international survey on family and birth rates in Europe therefore pursues the following objectives:
- Providing information on families and birth rates that complements census and marital status data and can be used for scientific purposes, but also for political and administrative purposes;
- Provision of data that can be used to develop more precise population scenarios;
- Testing of new hypotheses concerning the determinants of parental and partnership behaviour;
- Investigation of problems related to family and birth policies;
- Comparisons of recent developments in family and birth rates in European countries.
Each participating country carries out a representative sample survey based on a standardised questionnaire. The data collected are therefore comparable with those of other countries.
The Swiss Federal Statistical Office had planned to conduct a survey on family and birth rates as part of its microcensus programme. Official statistics in our country have few data that allow an analysis of the profound changes in this area. The project of the Economic Commission for Europe offered Switzerland the opportunity to conduct such a survey and at the same time participate in an international comparative research programme. The basic concept for this was drawn up in 1992. The Swiss Federal Statistical Office, which collaborated with the Institute of Sociology at the University of Zurich and the Laboratoire de démographie économique et sociale at the University of Geneva, was in charge of the overall management of the project on behalf of the Federal Council.
The objectives of the survey were as follows:
- To provide an overview of recent developments and the current situation of the family and the birth rate in Switzerland;
- To study the interactions between education, employment, family lifestyles and birth rates;
- To shed light on the changes in attitudes and values about family and child.
This survey allows (lifecourse-related) longitudinal analyses as a supplement to the (momentary) cross-sectional studies of the situation in the areas of birth rate, tendency to marry and household structure based on census and civil status data. This information is intended for those involved in social and family policy decisions and for scientific research.
Methods (description)
Befragt wurden etwa 6000 Frauen und Männern im Alter zwischen 20 49 Jahren. Ereignisanalysen, Multivariate Auswertungen.
Methods (instruments)
Replicated study No
  • Bundesamt für Statistik, . 1998. Mikrozensus Familie in der Schweiz 1994/95. Präsentation, kommentierte Ergebnisse und Tabellen. Bundesamt für Statistik, Bern, 1998.
  • Office fédéral de la statistique, . 1998. L'enquête suisse sur la famille 1994/95. Présentation, résultats commentés et tableaux. Office fédéral de la statistique, Berne, 1998.
  • Csonka, Yvon.. 1997. Fonder une famille, devenir parent. Office Fédéral de la statistique, Berne, Démos 1/97.
  • Fux, Beat. 1992. Mikrozensus Familie. Bericht zum Grobkonzept. Bundesamt für Statistik, Bern und Zürich, 1992.
Unpublished documents
  • North, J.. 1996. Beruf und Familie vereinbaren. Bundesamt für Statistik, Bern, Démos 3 - 4/96.
  • Bundesamt für Statistik, . 1993. Grobkonzept. Bundesamt für Statistik, Bern, 1993.
Financed by
Ethical approval No
Study type
Data availability
Source (Updates)
Date created 15.05.2019
Date modified 15.05.2019
Start - End date 01.01.1992 - 28.12.1997