Friday, May 12, 2006

Russia's population crisis - too few children

Vladimir Putin has a population crisis on his hands. The population of Russia is declining by about 700,000 per year. This endangers their economic growth and even their security. The Scotsman reports
Mr Putin said: "We are talking about the preservation of our people. We must resurrect our time-honoured traditions of treating the family, home and hearth with special care." Some families found having even one child a financial struggle, he said, and changes were needed before they would risk a second or third.
Putin is doing something to encourage more children. What to us seems insignificant, but to the Russians is huge:
Mr Putin proposed more than doubling monthly payouts to families for their first baby to 1,500 roubles (£30) - over half the average wage. If they have a second then that child, under Mr Putin's proposals, will merit £60 a month. The state will pay women who give up work to have a child 40 per cent of what they earned before.
France also has financial incentives for children. Not for the first, but for larger families. Also Australia, Italy, Poland, Japan and Singapore. New York Times. Tip to my friend Jim Miller on Politics.

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