Even after incentivizing childbirths, half of the world is in the midst of a baby bust

According to recent projections, countries such as the United States and China are seeing their lowest fertility rates ever. As a result, some countries are increasingly encouraging women to have children

As per the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) research paper ‘The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision’, it is predicted that the population of the world will touch 11.2 billion by the end of the century. These figures are now being challenged.

India’s fertility rate has fallen below replacement levels, or the Total Fertility Rate (TFR), for the first time in history, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5). The trend is not limited to India only.

According to The Lancet, because of declining fertility rate, the baby boom has been replaced by the baby bust. For example, TFR for Greece is 1.3, Bulgaria 1.58, Hungary 1.39, Poland 1.29, Italy 1.4, South Korea 1.26, Japan 1.48, China 1.5, and Brazil 1.8.

WHO guidelines, on the other hand, state that every childbearing woman should have 2.1 children in order to replenish the dying population.

Countries are increasingly incentivizing childbirths

As per latest estimates, countries like the USA and China are witnessing their lowest ever fertility rates. Consequently, some countries are now incentivizing the childbirths.

There has been an increase of 30% from 9% in 1976 in the countries making efforts to increase the birthrate, as per the research by The Washington Post.

For example, from 2016, the government in Poland is giving €100 per child per month as an incentive.

The case of South Korea and China

Also, South Korea is providing financial and tax incentive to improve its peculiar fertility rates. It provides better childcare, housing benefits and social holidays for baby-making. Apart from these, it has provisions for support for in-vitro fertilization and generous parental leave.

In case of China, it has dropped its infamous policy of ‘one child’ and contrarily is now exploring means to improve the fertility rates in the country. China’s efforts in this connection can be gauged by the fact that the country adopted ‘two-child policy’ in 2016 and further enhanced it to ‘three-child policy’ in 2021.

However, reports suggest that the mere adoption of such a policy has had no significant impact on the fertility rates in the country, with some experts warning that this decline in fertility could have some serious consequences to deal with.

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