Hungary government scheme sparks marriage boom. Will babies follow?

socalnolympia

Hungary government scheme sparks marriage boom. Will babies follow? - Reuters

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - A new Hungarian government scheme to promote marriage and childbirth with subsidized loans has already helped produce a boom in weddings, though it is still too early to say whether more babies will follow.
Nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has made it a priority to persuade more Hungarians to marry and have children to reverse a population decline. He has introduced a number of tax benefits and other programs to favor families.
A big new scheme this year offers couples that marry before the bride’s 41st birthday subsidized loans of up to 10 million forints ($33,000). A third of the loan will be forgiven if they go on to have two children, and the entire debt wiped out if they have three.
The central statistics office (KSH) said there had already been a 20% surge in the number of people getting married during the first nine months of this year. The number of weddings recorded was the highest over that period since 1990.
“The family incentive program was launched as of July 1, when various new benefits were introduced ... and a precondition is that couples have to be married. So we think this is one of the key explanations,” said Gabriella Geczy, a KSH statistician.
In September alone, 29% more couples married than in the same month last year. Hungary saw the most September weddings since 1979.
Earlier this month the government said more than 50,000 couples had so far applied for the new subsidized loans.
Whether this year’s newlyweds will go on to have more babies has yet to be seen. So far, the birth rate has actually fallen slightly this year, to 1.48 babies per woman, from 1.49.
Hungary, like many other European countries, especially in the formerly communist east, is struggling with a declining birth rate. Orban's right-wing government is fiercely opposed to immigration.


What do you think? If a country like Hungary has a population problem and the population is declining, are they better served by trying to increase birthrates, rather than relying on immigration from other regions of the world. I suppose all sorts of arguments could be made either way.

Hungary's president is concerned immigration could have a permanent negative impact on his country, and rather than all those people adapting to European society, it would change European society and make it more like all the societies in the parts of the world where these people are coming from. (Which arguably might not be such a good thing)

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patriciae_gw(07)

From a biological global standpoint instead of a tribal standpoint it would be better to import people. We already have too many humans in the world. No one is going to do the responsible thing. It is always going to be tribal. France gives major support to families with children for this very reason.

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socalnolympia

That's true, France gives large amounts of support to families, even using taxpayer money to hire an assistant to come in and help fold laundry and do housework for women who've recently had a baby.

Yet the birth rates of native French is very low.

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miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,maifleur,others(8a)

At first glance I don’t really love the model.

I never think that encouraging debt is a good thing; these families are basically taking on debt that they may or may not be able to repay.

The incentive to bring a child into the world who the parents may or may not have felt any natural interest in troubles me too. I’m idealistic enough to believe that the decision to start a family or add to it should never be made out of financial considerations.

Not to mention the impulse to marry for money. Between consenting adults I don’t care one single hoot about that, except that it’s tax dollars incentivizing it, potentially.

And then there are the practical considerations. What happens if the couple can’t conceive? Or if a child is stillborn or dies in infancy? It sounds like the couple remains in debt. And that begins to sound like discrimination based on medical conditions. Are there repercussions for divorce within a certain time frame?

I’m probably more comfortable with other ways of supporting families; tax credits, RESP availability, tax exemptions for necessities for kids, subsidized day care, etc.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Why subsidize children in a world over run with children? We the people do not replace ourselves and haven't for most of our lives. Our population grows due to immigration-totally due to immigration. It is the other way to make more citizens and it has worked just fine for us.

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miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,maifleur,others(8a)

I completely agree with you patriciae, nevertheless I have no say in what the government of Hungary does. And people will never stop procreating outside of government restrictions a la China, which create their own major challenges.

The measures I prefer benefit immigrants who arrive with children and people who adopt as much as they benefit couples who marry specifically in order to produce a certain number of children.

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socalnolympia

"The incentive to bring a child into the world who the parents may or may not have felt any natural interest in troubles me too. I’m idealistic enough to believe that the decision to start a family or add to it should never be made out of financial considerations."

I don't think it's designed to make them have a child that they don't want, all for financial reasons. It's just designed to give them a nudge over the fence if they were thinking about having a child but weren't sure. Sadly the decision to not have or delay having children is often made out of financial considerations. This policy seems designed to try to counteract that.


"Or if a child is stillborn or dies in infancy? It sounds like the couple remains in debt."

Then they could try again, obviously.


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miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,maifleur,others(8a)

"Or if a child is stillborn or dies in infancy? It sounds like the couple remains in debt."

Then they could try again, obviously.

———

Oh, yes, obviously. It’s as simple as that. /s

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Moxie

It's a horrible idea. I oppose any policy that encourages increased birth rates. I'm also opposed to governments meddling in people's reproductive choices.

A subsidize loan is particularly insidious. People tend to be naive about money and will often jump at schemes that sound like easy money. Even if one wants to have children, a lot can go wrong - low fertility of either partner, inability to carry a pregnancy to term, birth defects that make one reluctant to have more children, etc. Then the people are stuck with debt. If they are going to meddle, it would be far better to offer financial rewards at milestones such as a child's first, fifth and tenth birthdays.

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