By the Blouin News Politics staff

Italy looks to new financial incentives for having kids

by in Europe.

(Source: K's GLIMPSES/flickr)

(Source: K’s GLIMPSES/flickr)

Italy’s health minister Beatrice Lorenzin called for raising government benefits paid to families for having children, in order to halt the catastrophic decline in the country’s birth rate. In an interviewpublished on Sunday, she said the monthly bonus for lower income families should be twice the current €80 ($90), and she called for higher payments for subsequent children to encourage big families.

The measures would add to Italy’s already huge short-term budget deficit, but without any changes the present course would be disastrous for the country’s future demographics and economy. “If we carry on as we are and fail to reverse the trend, there will be fewer than 350,000 births a year in 10 years’ time, 40% less than in 2010 — an apocalypse,” Lorenzin stated. “In five years we have lost more than 66,000 births (per year) – that is the equivalent of a city the size of Siena,” she said. “If we link this to the increasing number of old and chronically ill people, we have a picture of a moribund country.”

The “replacement rate” necessary to keep the population stable would be 2.1 children per woman, although…

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