Hungary's Prime Minister is offering women who have four or more children the opportunity to opt out of having to pay income tax for life, in an effort to address the country's birth crisis and counter immigration, CNBC is reporting.
The Eastern European nation is in the midst of a birth crisis -- that is, women are having fewer children and having them at a later age. Why is that a problem? Because Hungary, like any nation, needs a constant supply of new citizens to fill the tax rolls. Hungary's families aren't producing enough kids to keep up with citizens who are aging and passing away -- or those who move away.
Most nations with declining birth rates may not be paying the phenomenon too much mind. The birth rate in the U.S. has been declining for decades, but despite the decline birth rate, the difference is more than made up for by immigration. This is a notion that's true across most of the developed world, including most of Europe.
Hungary's government does not see this as an acceptable substitute, however. The nation's government, described by CNBC as "nationalist," strongly limits immigration. So strict is Hungary about not letting in immigrants that the country has found itself at odds with the rest of the European Union.Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says that Hungary needs Hungarian children in order to preserve Hungary's culture and Christian identity.
"There are fewer and fewer children born in Europe. For the West, the answer (to that challenge) is immigration. For every missing child there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine. But we do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children."To that end, Orban's government unveiled a series of new proposals aimed at boosting the number of Hungarian children.
The key part of the package is a plan to let women who have four or more children go without having to pay income tax for the rest of their lives. Similarly, the plan offers government subsidies so large families can buy larger cars, government-backed loans to help families with at least two children buy homes, and a "preferential loan" for every woman who marries under the age of 40.
Similarly, anticipating that the plan will work, the government intends to build 21,000 new nursery schools across Hungary -- and to give grandparents a government stipend if they provide childcare for their grandchildren.
"This is Hungary's answer (to challenges) rather than immigration."Hungary is not the only nation with a declining birth rate that is going to great measures to counter it. As Population Connection reports, countries across the world -- faced with declining birth rates -- are promoting birth and marriage through public-relations campaigns, tax incentives, and reversing of policies that burden large families. Those countries include Australia, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, and Italy, among others.