In 2018, Estonia saw an additional 600 births compared to the year before. Image: Karson/Unsplash
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In Estonia, the bigger the family, the better.
On top of individual child benefits, the state pays $335 a month to families with three or more children.
Immigration is also boosting the population, with more than 6,000 people of working age moving to Estonia between 2017-2018, and fewer leaving the country.
The world’s population is continuing to grow: by 2030, it's expected to hit 8.6 billion people. The majority of that growth is concentrated in just a handful of nations, including India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ethiopia.
Gender equality also plays a role in family planning. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there is a more positive birth-rate trend in countries with better workplace equality, such as Sweden.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report shows the gender gap currently stands at 68%.
The population replacement rate – the fertility rate needed to maintain a society’s population size – is 2.1 children per woman. Although fertility rates vary from country to country, on a global scale, they are declining.
Several countries are now offering government subsidies for building a family.
In 2013, the municipality of Lestijärvi, on the Finnish coast, began to address its own population gap by offering women a “baby bonus” of $11,000 per child, paid over a period of 10 years.
Since then, nearly twice as many babies have been born in Lestijärvi – a significant advance as Finland is experiencing its lowest-ever birth rates. The country has not reached population replacement levels since 1969.
France spends more public money on families than any other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country – and with those benefits linked to the tax system, the larger the family, the lower the taxable income level.
Alongside a monthly child benefit allowance and state-subsidized daycare, France gives parents a $1,000 ‘birth grant’ for new babies.
While French birth rates are declining, they remain the highest in Europe, with 758,000 babies born in France in 2018.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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