Poor Economy Preventing Young Greeks from Starting a Family



Family is often at the heart of Greek life, but many people can no longer afford to have children.

Young Greeks wanting to raise a family are being thwarted by the bad state of the economy and unemployment.

A report by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) cites young Greeks frustrated at the economic obstacles to starting a family.

“I have been in a stable relationship for four years, but we cannot take the next step with my partner, though we would like to,” 33-year-old Eleni, a part-time employee in a private business, told AMNA.

Despite the fact that Elenis’ 32-year-old partner has a more stable job, they only made the move to leave their parents’ homes four months ago.

“We took a two-room house without our parents pushing us out. On the contrary, they urged both of us to live with our respective families until we decided to have a child. But it is difficult for us even now to have a child,” Eleni said.

Thirty-six-year-old Nikos told AMNA he decided to move to his parents’ home in order to cut expenses and save his small business.

Similarly, 45-year-old Dimitris, a surveyor, after spending several years moving in various neighborhoods in Athens, eventually returned to his father’s house in Patissia, taking advantage of the fact his retired father and mother decided to live the rest of their lives in their native village.

“A family?” Dimitris replied with a question to the AMNA reporter’s question if he wants to start a family. “Probably I’m too old for that. And still, I don’t know if I could cope with the demands,” he said.

Alexandra Tragaki, Professor of Economic Demography at Harokopio University, spoke to AMNA about the phenomenon of young Greeks who are afraid to start a family, attributing it to the financial insecurity they feel, and more so in the times of economic crisis:

“There is a pervasive climate of pessimism that tells us a lot about the phenomenon. In our country, young people have always left their parents’ homes later than in other European countries. But the crisis made things worse. And that should not surprise us. Employment and financial security are key factors in creating a family,” she noted.

The professor said that this is evidenced by the fact that the number of women in the 35-39 age group who are working and choose to have a child has grown significantly.

Tragaki said that in order for a couple to start a family, the right policies and the right economic and social environment are prerequisites.