Posted on March 23, 2020

5 Global Initiatives to Tackle Falling Birth Rates

Jon Axworthy, Raconteur, March 23, 2020

South Korea

Although the birth rate has risen from 2018, the country still has one of the lowest rates in the world, (1.1 children per woman in 2019) well below the global birth rate of 2.5. Over the past 13 years, Seoul has pumped almost $121 billion into measures to increase the rate, establishing public day care centres, free nurseries, as well as subsidised childcare for a child’s first year.



Prime Minister Viktor Orban addressed Hungary’s births per woman, which currently stands at 1.48, in February 2019. The attempt to increase the figure in line with the global birth rate began with women under 40 being eligible for a loan when they get married, which they won’t have to pay back if they go on to have three children.

Mortgage assistance was also announced for young families after the births of a second and third child and cash subsidies were available for families with at least three children to help buy seven-seater vehicles.

The most dramatic measure came with the governmental guarantee that women would become exempt from income tax after the birth of their fourth child.



{snip} A birth rate of 1.32 is not being helped by the country’s stagnant economy and the knock-on effect on couples delaying starting a family because of financial insecurity.

Government interventions to come into line with the global birth rate and other European countries with the highest fertility rates include increasing the income dependent ‘bonus nido’, or nursery bonus, for each child under three to cover creche and childcare fees. A social grant called the ‘universal birth rate’ payment is also income dependent and currently stands at €80, €120 or €160 a month per child under the age of one.




The current rate stands at 1.26 children per woman and to reverse the trend billions have been spent on enhanced parental leave programmes, tax rebates for more children, as well as benefits for working mothers whose parents look after their grandchildren.

To make it easier for grandparents to get involved the government offer a generous Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) of $30,000 for families purchasing somewhere to live with or near (within 4km) their parents or children.

There is also a baby bonus cash gift of $8000 for the first and second child and $10,000 for every subsequent birth. {snip}


Since 2017 the birth rate has continued to fall well below the global birth rate in Russia and it now sits at 1.48 children per woman. To raise the number to a desired target of 1.7, President Putin announced in his annual state-of-the-nation address that the government will increase the ‘maternity capital’ payment to $7,350 for parents of at least two children. {snip}