Almost one year ago, I wrote an article detailing the plan of Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, to reverse his country’s declining population without the aid of immigration. Back then, in August 2017, Hungary’s fertility rate sat at around 1.5; well below the recommended fertility rate of 2.1 which is required for a population of a developed country to stay the same size.
While European leaders across the continent continue to inform us that we need “Replacement Migration” to save our countries’ declining populations, Viktor Orbán refused to consider this an option. In his own words, he wanted, and still wants, to keep Hungary Hungarian, so he set himself the goal of hitting that magical 2.1 fertility figure by the year 2030.
A report published by the Institute For Family Studies this week revealed that Orbán’s plans have so far been a success. The author of the report, Lyman Stone, wrote:
“The country is not just experiencing a fertility spike; Hungary is winding back the clock on much of the fertility and family-structure transition that demographers have long considered inevitable.”
The report goes on to suggest that the rise in native births is down to a number of policy changes which together have made it easier and more appealing for young Hungarian families to have children. One of these policies, as I detailed in my previous article, includes offering families subsidies to buy or build a new home. The size of the grant which a family is offered depends on whether a couple is married and the number of children that they have, and it jumps up rather rapidly for families with 3+ children. A family with two children receive between $18,000 and $35,000, whereas a family with three children receive between $50,000 and $80,000.
As we can see from the below graph, the number of births for married women has risen rather rapidly.
Hungary have increased government spending on children, families and mothers and some of the other policies which they have implemented include offering tax exemptions, cash grants and loan subsidies for families with children. This has made having a family much more economically viable for Hungarian mothers as we know that low finances is an often stated reason why fertility rates are down in Europe.
Hungary have also worked hard to promote the idea of marriage. In 2011, Hungary adopted a new constitution which promotes the traditional family unit as being central to the shaping of Hungary for now and future generations. The constitution now says:
“Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman… and the family as the basis of the nation’s survival. Hungary shall encourage the commitment to have children. The protection of families shall be regulated by a cardinal Act.”
Stone, the author of the above-mentioned report, suggests that this is resulting in women marrying at a younger age while they are more fertile which is resulting in the increased number of births.
We will continue to monitor Hungary’s fertility rate but what we can already begin to see here is that Viktor Orbán’s plans are beginning to take shape. Orbán still has twelve years to hit his proposed fertility rate target of 2.1. All eyes will be on Hungary because if Orbán nails this, then we will have firm evidence to counter the notion that “Replacement Migration” is needed to save our countries.