Faced with one of the lowest birth rates in the world, Italy has decided to encourage population growth by paying 1,000 euro to couples who already have one child and have another child by the end of 2004.
This follows on the announcement by the mayor of Lavino who offered couples 10,000 for any infant born in his village. Unlike the state’s offer, there are no time limits attached to this offer.
Even so, there appears to be a great deal of skepticism about whether such offers will actually significantly increase fertility rates in Italy. The 1,000 euro offer was also criticized for only being offered to Italian or European citizens — non-European immigrants need not apply.
Italian demographer Giuseppe Gesano told Reuters,
Italians are not so poor that a one-off payment of Â€1000 is going to make them have children . . . It may convince a few hundred couples to have kids earlier than planned but it’s not going to radically change the birth rate.
Besides, even if Italian fertility should suddenly take off, Italy’s current disparity between births and deaths would still create serious imbalances for decades.
Italy offers families baby-cash. Frances Kennedy, The BBC, December 1, 2003.
Italy tries to bribe its way to a baby boom. James Crawford, Reuters, December 6, 2003.