Polish Baby Boom? More Than 400,000 Born In 2017
Around 410,000 babies were born in 2017 in Poland, up from 385,000 in 2016 and 369,000 in 2015. While the final numbers have not yet been announced, government statistics show that 341,000 were born from January to October 2017, and another 70,000 or so were believed to have been born in November and December.
This is good news for the Central European nation, which has been suffering from falling birth rates and a rapidly aging population, largely due to emigration to other European Union member states.
This uptick in births is likely due to the Polish government’s aggressive campaign to increase birth rates.
In 2016 the government introduced its “500 Plus” program, which offers 500 Polish zloty per month for every child in low-income families, and for second and subsequent children in all other families. Before the “500 Plus” program was introduced, the Central Statistical Office projected a mere 346,000 births in 2017.
The government also undertook a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging couples to have more children. In one ad, the Health Ministry urged citizens to breed like rabbits.
An improving economy likely also helped boost birth rates. Inflation remained low, the economy grew at about 4%, and unemployment fell to a record low of 4.7% near the end of 2017.
Minister of Family, Labor, and Social Policy Elzbieta Rafalska expressed hope for birth rates to continue to rise in the future. She stated that if the economy remains strong then the number of births could rise by another 20,000 to 30,000 in 2018, which would represent the highest birth rates in Poland since the 1990s.
Other countries have experimented using social programs and marketing campaigns to boost their birth rates as well.
France, for example, used a complex combination of tax deductions, year-long parental leave, subsidized childcare, discounted government services, free family passes to museums and swimming pools, and means-tested “family allowance” subsidies to boost their birth rates to 2.01 births per woman in 2015, the latest year that data is available for.
Meanwhile Denmark attempted to use an ad campaign encouraging couples to “do it for mom” to boost its birth rates – but the campaign appears to have been unsuccessful.
The approach that Poland is taking – direct cash subsidies for every child born – is simultaneously the boldest and the simplest program that any European country has tried in an attempt to boost its birth rates.
This represents a radically different approach from the one currently pursued by many Western countries: combatting an aging populace and a shrinking labor force by encouraging citizens to have more babies, instead of replacing its own population with immigrants from the third world.
This approach has several major benefits, the main benefit being that it avoids national suicide. If the “500 Plus” program is successful, Poland will continue to exist and possibly even grow as a nation in the future – unlike countries like the U.K. and Germany that will lose their unique identities if they continue to promote mass migration.
But on a more concrete level, Poland’s approach has other benefits as well. Unlike these other countries, Poland doesn’t have to deal with the terrorism that third world migrants bring with them. For example, there wasn’t a single terror attack in Poland in 2017 – while France, the U.K., Germany, Sweden, and other countries have had to deal with dozens of terror attacks committed by immigrants and the descendants of immigrants.
And unlike many other EU member states Poland has so far avoided grooming gangs, gang rape crises, skyrocketing welfare costs, and integration problems by not accepting large amounts of immigrants from the third world.
If Poland’s experiment with its “500 Plus” program continues to be successful and manages to reverse the aging of its population, then hopefully it’ll serve as an example for other countries to follow.