Feeling lonely, Europe? Two European nations are tackling the problem of declining populations very differently. In France, they now have the second highest birth rate in Europe (after Ireland) and some argue that tempting government subsidies may have helped. France offers generous maternity and paternity packages allowing a mother of a third kiddie to take a year off of work, with pay. Not to mention the perks of subsidized first class rail travel, holiday vouchers and financial help with childcare should you wish to turn down free state care facilities. It is estimated that the government supported baby boom has secured France’s population until 2050. To see what's happening in Spain, and even more creative Singapore,
In Spain, where the government is not interested in funding their birth rate (spending 0.7% on family subsidies – the lowest in Europe) they are turning to another form of population growth: immigration. In 2005, the socialist government introduced an amnesty for illegal immigrants so long as they could prove their participation in the national workforce for two years. Some 700,000 migrants were immediately made Spanish citizens, which both bolstered their population and helped create one of the continent's most flourishing economies.
Maybe France and Spain should take a fun lesson from Singapore. Their government sponsors a class taught at the college level called “Love Relations for Life: A Journey of Romance, Love and Sexuality.” The aim is to get smart citizens to meet, mate, and multiply — giving the population a state-sponsored semi-educational match.com-style boost.
Which method of population enhancement do you prefer? Is the world hurting for more people? Do governments need to pad their enrollments like this?