About
The Infrastructure is run by leading Social Scientists and National Statistical Offices

Introduction

This animated introduction to The Generations & Gender Programme explains the purpose, function and value of a social science research infrastructure to the domains of public policy and research. 

For access to the GGP open source datasets register as a GGP User here.

For questions or inquiries please email GGP@nidi.nl.

Background

The Generations & Gender Programme Research Infrastructure provides scientists and policy makers with high quality and timely data about families and life course trajectories of individuals to enable researchers to contribute insights and answers to current societal and public policy challenges. 

The GGP provides users with an open-access data source of cross-nationally comparative surveys and contextual data.

Started under the umbrella of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the GGP infrastructure is run by institutes with strong traditions in academic research on population and family change and on survey methodology. The UNECE coordinated the GGP until 2009 and continues to provide critical services to the infrastructure.

The GGP survey focuses on inter-generational and gender relations between people, expressed in care arrangements and the organization of paid and unpaid work. These features significantly improve the knowledge base for social science and policy-making in Europe and other developed countries. Crucial to understanding behaviours across the life course is the longitudinal panel design of the GGP surveys. The contextual database provides information on variations in context over time through more than 100 indicators from 60 countries in multiple regions as these are believed to have an impact on relationships between genders and generations.

In an increasingly globalized world, Europe faces major social, economic, cultural and technological challenges. In Europe 2020, the European Union develops a strategy “to help us come out stronger from the crisis and turn the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy delivering high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion”. To realize the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth that the EU envisages, the human capital of Europe’s populations is the continent’s largest asset.

To capitalize on that asset calls for a constant reappraisal of how Europeans arrange their lives, both as individuals, as family units and as countries. The economic crisis affects not only day-to-day decisions, but also fundamental choices at all stages of people’s lives: marriage and childbearing, the combination of employment and caring responsibilities for the young and the old, retirement, housing, and ageing well. How Europeans cope with these fundamental choices has important consequences for their personal well-being as well as for the adaptability and competitiveness of the societies in which they live. Given the extent and urgency of the challenges facing Europe’s populations, policy makers and the general public require scientific information on how to effectively deal with them. In order for the social sciences to respond to current policy challenges with appropriate and sustainable responses, high-quality data are essential.

The first GGP panel waves were conducted in 2004. To date, at least one wave of the Generations & Gender Survey has been conducted in 20 European and 4 non-European countries. The GGP is unique in its large coverage of Central and East European countries, and is also the only comparative longitudinal panel study that covers the entire adult age range. A new round of data collection is planned for 2020.

History

The Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) was launched in 2000 by the Population Unit of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and has been coordinated by the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute since 2009. It is a social science Research Infrastructure that provides harmonized, large-scale, longitudinal, cross-national panel data on individual life courses and family dynamics. Over time, the GGP follows respondents through relationships, marriages, parenthood, divorces, deaths and many of the opportunities and challenges that people face along the way. It then tracks the causes and consequences of these events at the individual and societal levels.  The contextual database complements the survey data with regional and national level indicators to help increase our understanding of the role policy and other contextual factors play in individuals’ and families’ lives. These open access data resources, curated by the GGP, are ideally suited to formulate scientifically-informed and policy-relevant answers to key societal questions.

The GGP is as a successor to the Fertility and Family Survey (FFS) which was conducted in the 1990s. The FFS was a cross-nationally comparative survey programme conducted by the Population Unit of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The survey was carried on in 24 countries during the 1990s. The FFS micro-level data is compatible and comparable with the GGP datasets enabling analysis of longer periods of time and different populations.

From its inception, the GGP has strongly relied upon the commitment of the participating institutions to achieve its large-scale ambition. The GGP as it exists today is possible due to the efforts of its Consortium comprised of renowned representatives of international institutes with strong traditions in academic research on population, family change and survey methodology. At the national level, participating institutions have invested major fundraising efforts to implement the national micro- and macro-level data collections, with most funds being provided either by national governments, by statistical offices and/or by national science foundations. Some participating institutions have invested considerable funds in data collection from their own resources. At the international level, the coordination and development of the GGP relies heavily on Consortium Board institutions.

Some of the GGP’s key milestones include:

The GGP’s unique data resources continue to strengthen the knowledge base for social science and public policymaking in Europe and developed countries elsewhere.

Previous and current coordinators:

Previous and current Chairs of the Consortium Board:

GGP 2020

The Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) is pleased to announce that it will be carrying out a new round of data collection in 2020. The aim of the GGP is to deliver high quality data for scientific research on population dynamics and family change, relationships between generations, and changes in the social roles of women and men, accounting for economic, social and cultural contexts. The GGP is a world leader on issues of fertility decisions, work-life balance, transition to adulthood, and intergenerational exchanges. So far, more than twenty countries have participated in our programme.

The new round of data collection promises to bring fresh insights on low fertility, the complex life trajectories of young adults, and the dynamics of families. To do so it will use a common, centrally administered questionnaire, the latest survey technologies, and will offer the possibility of multi-mode of data collection.

Countries interested in participating are asked to contact the GGP Coordination Team as soon as possible. The GGP provides extensive support to national teams on all steps of the data life cycle including translation, sampling, fieldwork, harmonization and documentation.  Importantly, the GGP operates under an open data access principle allowing registered users worldwide access to the harmonized data.

For more information, contact ggp@nidi.nl

Projects

There are a number of surveys with which the Generations and Gender Survey collaborates its efforts to understand family and relationship dynamics across the lifecourse:

The Social Science & Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC) is a four year project financed by the European Commission under Horizon 2020. SSHOC will realize the social sciences and humanities part of the European Open Science Cloud by offering flexible access to research data and related services adapted to the needs of the SSH community

Synergies for Europe’s Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences (SERISS) is a four-year project that aims to strengthen and harmonise social science research across Europe. GGP is a partner within the project alongside other major comparative sociological surveys in Europe such as the Survey for Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), the European Social Survey (ESS), The Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) and the European Value Survey (EVS)

Fertility and Family Surveys (FFS) were conducted in the 1990s in 23 member States of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The project concluded in 2000 with the FFS Flagship Conference. The micro-data of the surveys is available for research. The FFS is the the immediate predeccesor the Generations and Gender Programme.

The German Family Panel pairfam (“Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics”) is a multi-disciplinary, longitudinal study for researching partnership and family dynamics in Germany. The annually collected survey data from a nationwide random sample of more than 12,000 persons of the three birth cohorts 1971-73, 1981-83, 1991-93 and their partners, parents and children offers unique opportunities for the analysis of partner and generational relationships as they develop over the course of multiple life phases. A working paper detailing the relationship between the GGP and Parifam can be found here.

The Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS) is a large-scale database on Dutch families. The research questions revolve around the theme of solidarity, which is defined as ‘feelings of mutual affinity in family relationships and how these are expressed in behavioural terms’. Four waves of an extensive face-to-face interview have been conducted (Wave 1 in 2002 – 2004, Wave 2 in 2006 – 2007, Wave 3 in 2010 – 2011, Wave 4 in 2014).

ODISSEI (Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economic Innovations) works to develop a sustainable research infrastructure for the social sciences in the Netherlands. Through ODISSEI, researchers within the social sciences will have access to interconnected large-scale, longitudinal data collections. This virtual web will enable researchers to answer new, cross-disciplinary research questions and to investigate existing questions in new ways.

The PROGEDO large infrastructure ensures the implementation of a public policy for social sciences and humanities for France. It focuses especially on research on law, economics, geography, management, history, political sciences and sociology.  Its role is based on the missions defined since 2008 in the national roadmap for large research infrastructures produced by the French Ministry for Higher Education and Research. As part of the French Roadmap since 2016, GGP participates in the work of PROGEDO.

 

Design

We ask people about their relationships, their families and their children and this data together provides hundred’s of thousands of life stories. Taken together these stories weave a patchwork in which we look for patterns and try to understand how these patterns are changing over time and what might be causing them. In this visualization you can watch the lives of 500 people unfold.  Each dot in the animation represents one real person that the GGP interviewed in the country you select from the drop down menu.

At the Age of 15 pretty much everybody is single and doesn’t have any children so they start down in the bottom left hand corner. Then as time passes some find a partner to live with and some even get married. When they do, the little dot that represents them moves up to represent this change in their relationship status. As time passes some people also have children, and to represent this the dot moves to the right for every additional child they have. 

The dots in the visualization are two different colours to represent two groups of people. The green dots are people who were born in 1950. They would have been 17 during the ‘summer of love’ and 35 years old during the ‘Live Aid’ concert in 1985. They are commonly called ‘baby boomers’. The orange dots are people who were born in 1970. They were 19 when the Berlin Wall fell and 30 at the turn of the Millennium. They are generally referred to as ‘Generation X’. These two generations have lived quite different lives, as the visualization shows.

Click ‘Start’ to begin the animation. You can change the country by selecting another one from the drop down list, clicking ‘Update’ and then clicking ‘Start’ again.

The animation uses d3.js, or Data-Driven Documents, created by Mike Bostock. The animation is inspired by the following post of Nathan Yau: http://flowingdata.com/2017/05/17/american-workday/ and developed by Eugenio Paglino & Tom Emery.

 

Key Features

Cross-national comparability

Up till now, 20 countries have conducted at least one wave of data collection. The comparative focus allows analyses of the ways in which policies, culture and economic circumstances influence dependencies between men and women and between the young and the old.

A longitudinal design

The GGP survey applies a panel design – collecting information on the same persons at three-year intervals – to allow the examination of causes and consequences of inequalities between genders and generations. Twelve countries have thus far conducted at least two waves of the GGP survey.

A large sample size

The GGP survey has an average of 10,000 respondents per country, making it possible to study numerical minorities and uncommon events.

A broad age range

The GGP collects data on the whole life course by interviewing respondents aged 18-79. It also enables analysis of multiple generations by asking extensive questions about intergenerational exchange and support

The combination of micro and macro data

Alongside the micro data collected via surveys, the GGP has a contextual database with over 100 indicators which cover not only the year of the survey but also retrospective indicators covering the past 40 years to be used alongside the retrospective data in the surveys.

A theory-driven and multidisciplinary questionnaire

The GGS questionnaire is developed and maintained by a team of leading social scientists from demography, sociology and economics. The questionnaire seeks to bring together a wide range of subjects that examine the causes and consequences of family change.

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