Today is the International Day of Families. Families are the basic unit of society and play a critical role in shaping individuals and communities. A Family is the smallest and the primary focus of human attachment, nurturance and socialisation. All the lessons of life are learnt from the family and these stay on the psyche for the entire life. Family, which comes from the Latin, familia, is a group of people related either by consanguinity or affinity. The purpose of the family is to maintain the well-being of its members and society. Ideally, families offer predictability, structure, and safety as members mature and learn to participate in the community.
United Nations declared in 1993 that 15 May would be the International Day of Families to raise awareness of the importance of families and to promote family-oriented policies and programs. The day is an opportunity to recognise the importance of families and to promote their well-being. It also aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by families and to encourage the adoption of policies and programs that support families.
The theme for the 2022 edition was Families and Urbanisation. Urbanisation is one of the most important megatrends shaping the world and the life and well-being of families worldwide. Sustainable urbanisation is related to the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals and targets that depend on how well urbanisation is managed towards benefitting families and enhancing the well-being of all generations living in cities. The theme thus aims to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable, family-friendly urban policies.
The world is becoming increasingly urbanised. According to the United Nations, 55% of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, and this number is expected to reach 68% by 2050. Urbanisation has many benefits, such as access to better healthcare, education, and job opportunities. However, it also presents challenges for families, such as higher living costs, limited space, and a lack of social support.
One of the biggest challenges facing families in urban areas is housing. In many cities, housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable, forcing families to live in small apartments or even on the streets. Another challenge facing families in urban areas is the lack of social support networks. In traditional, rural communities, families often have access to extended family members, neighbours, and community organizations that provide social and emotional support which may be unable in urban areas. Despite these challenges, families in urban areas also have unique opportunities for growth and development.
Preparations for the thirtieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2024 have been centring on megatrends and their impact on families. The focus on selected megatrends, including technological change, migration, urbanization, demographic and climate change, aims to facilitate the analysis of their impacts on family life and to recommend responsive family-oriented policies to harness the positive aspects of those trends and counteract their negative facets.