About / 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.

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