This first issue in the current four-volume series of Social Security Programs Throughout the World reports on the countries of Europe. The combined findings of this series, which also includes volumes on Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and the Americas, are published at 6-month intervals over a 2-year period. Each volume highlights features of social security programs in the particular region.
The information contained in these volumes is crucial to our efforts, and those of researchers in other countries, to review different ways of approaching social security challenges that will enable us to adapt our social security systems to the evolving needs of individuals, households, and families. These efforts are particularly important as each nation faces major demographic changes, especially the increasing number of aged persons, as well as economic and fiscal issues.
Social Security Programs Throughout the World is the product of a cooperative effort between the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA). Founded in 1927, the ISSA is a nonprofit organization bringing together institutions and administrative bodies from countries throughout the world. The ISSA deals with all forms of compulsory social protection that by legislation or national practice are an integral part of a country's social security system.
Previous editions of this report, which date back to 1937, were issued as one volume and were prepared by SSA staff. With the introduction of the four-volume format in 2002, however, the research and writing has been contracted out to the ISSA. The ISSA has conducted the research largely through its numerous country-based correspondents, as well as its Social Security Worldwide Database and a myriad of other types of data that must be drawn together to update this report. Members of the ISSA's Social Security Observatory analyzed the information and revised the publication to reflect detailed changes to each social security program. Social Security Programs Throughout the World is based on information available to the ISSA and SSA with regard to legislation in effect in January 2008, or the last date for which information has been received.
SSA staff members were responsible for technical and editorial assistance and production. Barbara Kritzer served as technical consultant and provided overall project management. Staff of the Division of Information Resources edited and produced the report and prepared the print and Web versions.
Manuel de la Puente
Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics