‘Make Families Great Again’: Hungary Seeing More Babies, Less Abortions Through Pro-Family Policies

Samuel Smith, Christian Post, March 17, 2019

White House officials, Republican members of Congress and evangelical leaders gathered Thursday for “Making Families Great Again,” a conference on family policy hosted by the Hungarian Embassy at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

Led by President Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz Party, Hungary has become a poster child for passing nationalist pro-family policies over the last several years.

With nearly a decade-worth of data, Hungarian officials claimed Thursday that policies instituted over the last several decades that have incentivized marriage and childbirth have helped boost marriage and birth rates in Hungary at a time many countries struggle with those issues.

“I was very proud to be a minister here and hearing from our American friends how much they admired the Hungarian family policies,” Katalin Novák, the Hungarian minister of state for family, youth and international affairs who gave a keynote address at the event, told The Christian Post in an interview.

“They say that Hungary can be a role model for them in this issue. They said that we can show an example to the rest of the world for pro-family issues.”

Hungary’s birth rate fell below replacement level decades ago and the nation has struggled to repopulate. Unlike some of its European counterparts that have relied on immigration to boost population totals, the Orbán government has made clear that it does not view mass immigration as the answer.

Rather, the administration believes the answer is to ensure that Hungarian citizens have all the incentives they need to build large and happy families.

Today, the Hungarian government spends nearly 5 percent of its GDP towards incentives for those in the predominantly-Christian nation to get married and have children — lots of them.

Through policies, subsidies and extensive tax reductions enacted since Orbán regained power in 2010, some parents are eligible to receive the equivalent a grant of about $36,000 to help pay a home mortgage, and the equivalent of about $9,000 from the government toward a seven-seater vehicle if they have the required number of children.

The list of incentives and benefits for parents in Hungary is quite extensive and includes things like a state-financed daycare system, three years of paid parental leave, free kindergarten, subsidized vacations, assistance paying off student loans, vacation benefits and exemption from income tax for mothers with four or more children.

What are Hungary’s pro-family policies?

The approach Hungary takes when it comes to assisting families is through offering generous maternity support, paid childcare leave, generous family tax benefits and reductions and housing and car subsidies.

Novák stated last year that families saw a 63.8% increase in the net average earnings due to the family tax reduction alone since 2010.

“We have a family-friendly tax system,” Novák said. “That means that the more children you have, the less personal income tax you pay.”

{snip}

For parents with one kid, they are given a non-refundable subsidy equivalent to $2,160.72 toward the purchase of a new home, while families with two children can receive the equivalent of about $9,364.31 and parents of families with three children or more could receive around the equivalent of $36,000.

Additionally, the family will benefit from the value-added tax deduction for the home. According to the Institute for Family Studies, the interest and tax benefits are worth about another $15,000 to $50,000 per family depending on the house they buy and the terms of their loan.

{snip}

In February, Orbán unveiled his seven-point “Family Protection Action Plan.” The goal of the plan is for Hungary to boost its fertility rate of 1.5 children per woman to 2.1, the normal level for replacement, by the year 2030.

Under that plan, every woman who gives birth to at least four kids will be exempt from personal income tax payment for the rest of their lives.

Additionally, every woman under 40 years of age will be eligible for a preferential loan when they get married for the first time of up to $36,000 to use for whatever they want. Repayment of the loan will be suspended for three years after the birth of a child and suspended another three years after the birth of a second. If a third child is born, the remaining debt on the loan will be forgiven.

{snip}

The Orbán government also committed to building 21,000 new daycare centers in the next three years so that every family can place their young child in daycare by the year 2022.

Finally, the family protection action plan also calls for the introduction of payments for grandparents who will watch over their grandchildren.

{snip}

“What can you best invest in if not in your future generations?” Novák asked. “For that sake and for the sake of the Hungarian people as well, we actually have very economic growth in Hungary. We have positive economic figures in each field that enables us to raise our financial commitment in this matter.”

{snip}

Novák told CP that the administration doesn’t see mass immigration as “a possible tool to recover from our demographic winter.”

“Of course, we have refugees when needed when real people are in real need and on the run for the lives and need asylum in Hungary. They do get it,” she asserted.

{snip}

From 2010 to 2018, she says, marriage rates in Hungary have increased by 43 percent (the highest number in 20 years), divorce rates have decreased by 22.5 percent, fertility has increased by 21 percent (highest in 20 years) and abortion has decreased by 33.5 percent.

{snip}

Similar policy ideas have taken hold in other European nations.

Poland’s populist right-wing ruling Law and Justice party instituted the Family 500+ program, a $140 per-month tax-free child allowance when couples have a second child. Samuel Hammond, the director of poverty and welfare studies at the Niskanen Center, reports that the allowance is about 40 percent of Poland’s minimum wage.

“According to the World Bank, the 500+ program has all but eliminated extreme child poverty in Poland, and a recent analysis by economist Lyman Stone suggests that it may even have had a significant effect on birth rates, if more a bump than a boom,” Hammond wrote.

{snip}

White House officials, Republican members of Congress and evangelical leaders gathered Thursday for “Making Families Great Again,” a conference on family policy hosted by the Hungarian Embassy at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

Led by President Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz Party, Hungary has become a poster child for passing nationalist pro-family policies over the last several years.

With nearly a decade-worth of data, Hungarian officials claimed Thursday that policies instituted over the last several decades that have incentivized marriage and childbirth have helped boost marriage and birth rates in Hungary at a time many countries struggle with those issues.

“I was very proud to be a minister here and hearing from our American friends how much they admired the Hungarian family policies,” Katalin Novák, the Hungarian minister of state for family, youth and international affairs who gave a keynote address at the event, told The Christian Post in an interview.

“They say that Hungary can be a role model for them in this issue. They said that we can show an example to the rest of the world for pro-family issues.”

Hungary’s birth rate fell below replacement level decades ago and the nation has struggled to repopulate. Unlike some of its European counterparts that have relied on immigration to boost population totals, the Orbán government has made clear that it does not view mass immigration as the answer.

Rather, the administration believes the answer is to ensure that Hungarian citizens have all the incentives they need to build large and happy families.

Today, the Hungarian government spends nearly 5 percent of its GDP towards incentives for those in the predominantly-Christian nation to get married and have children — lots of them.

Through policies, subsidies and extensive tax reductions enacted since Orbán regained power in 2010, some parents are eligible to receive the equivalent a grant of about $36,000 to help pay a home mortgage, and the equivalent of about $9,000 from the government toward a seven-seater vehicle if they have the required number of children.

The list of incentives and benefits for parents in Hungary is quite extensive and includes things like a state-financed daycare system, three years of paid parental leave, free kindergarten, subsidized vacations, assistance paying off student loans, vacation benefits and exemption from income tax for mothers with four or more children.

What are Hungary’s pro-family policies?

The approach Hungary takes when it comes to assisting families is through offering generous maternity support, paid childcare leave, generous family tax benefits and reductions and housing and car subsidies.

Novák stated last year that families saw a 63.8% increase in the net average earnings due to the family tax reduction alone since 2010.

“We have a family-friendly tax system,” Novák said. “That means that the more children you have, the less personal income tax you pay.”

{snip}

For parents with one kid, they are given a non-refundable subsidy equivalent to $2,160.72 toward the purchase of a new home, while families with two children can receive the equivalent of about $9,364.31 and parents of families with three children or more could receive around the equivalent of $36,000.

Additionally, the family will benefit from the value-added tax deduction for the home. According to the Institute for Family Studies, the interest and tax benefits are worth about another $15,000 to $50,000 per family depending on the house they buy and the terms of their loan.

{snip}

In February, Orbán unveiled his seven-point “Family Protection Action Plan.” The goal of the plan is for Hungary to boost its fertility rate of 1.5 children per woman to 2.1, the normal level for replacement, by the year 2030.

Under that plan, every woman who gives birth to at least four kids will be exempt from personal income tax payment for the rest of their lives.

Additionally, every woman under 40 years of age will be eligible for a preferential loan when they get married for the first time of up to $36,000 to use for whatever they want. Repayment of the loan will be suspended for three years after the birth of a child and suspended another three years after the birth of a second. If a third child is born, the remaining debt on the loan will be forgiven.

{snip}

The Orbán government also committed to building 21,000 new daycare centers in the next three years so that every family can place their young child in daycare by the year 2022.

Finally, the family protection action plan also calls for the introduction of payments for grandparents who will watch over their grandchildren.

{snip}

“What can you best invest in if not in your future generations?” Novák asked. “For that sake and for the sake of the Hungarian people as well, we actually have very economic growth in Hungary. We have positive economic figures in each field that enables us to raise our financial commitment in this matter.”

{snip}

Novák told CP that the administration doesn’t see mass immigration as “a possible tool to recover from our demographic winter.”

“Of course, we have refugees when needed when real people are in real need and on the run for the lives and need asylum in Hungary. They do get it,” she asserted.

{snip}

From 2010 to 2018, she says, marriage rates in Hungary have increased by 43 percent (the highest number in 20 years), divorce rates have decreased by 22.5 percent, fertility has increased by 21 percent (highest in 20 years) and abortion has decreased by 33.5 percent.

{snip}

Similar policy ideas have taken hold in other European nations.

Poland’s populist right-wing ruling Law and Justice party instituted the Family 500+ program, a $140 per-month tax-free child allowance when couples have a second child. Samuel Hammond, the director of poverty and welfare studies at the Niskanen Center, reports that the allowance is about 40 percent of Poland’s minimum wage.

“According to the World Bank, the 500+ program has all but eliminated extreme child poverty in Poland, and a recent analysis by economist Lyman Stone suggests that it may even have had a significant effect on birth rates, if more a bump than a boom,” Hammond wrote.

{snip}

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