An Italian church is offering Christian parents a ‘baby bonus’ to have a third child in a bid to stem demographic collapse.
Concerned by the small number of Christian Italians being born, Father Stefano Bimbi of the parish of Staggia in Tuscany has announced his plans to pay €2,000 ($2,200) from parish funds to new parents. The rules are quite strict, however. Couples hoping to receive the bonus must have married in a church, already have two children and be native Italians.
The money also isn’t paid at birth – it is given to the parents on the day of their child’s baptism.
Young priest Father Bimbi (which means ‘Children’ in English) said the money should help parents “with the courage to accept the gift of a child”, and remarked “we don’t have a huge amount of money but the ‘baby bonus’ will continue until funds run out”, reports TheLocal.it.
Less Italians are being born than ever, a situation becoming so pronounced that the health minister has been provoked to observe “We are very close to the threshold of non-renewal where the people dying are not replaced by new-borns. That means we are a dying country” earlier this year. The population of the nation stagnated through the 1980s and 1990s – and is only now growing thanks to a massive influx of African and Asian immigrants.
Dwindling birth rates and low fertility rates are a significant problem almost everywhere on earth except Africa, with Europe one of the most badly affected regions. The United Nations, which freely admits is on a mission to make people have less children released a new report this week lamenting population growth in Africa, which will account for over half of all growth worldwide by 2050. The report states the failure to spread contraception effectively in many African nations means the UN only has a 1-in-4 chance of hitting its target of eradicating all human population growth 2100.
In many European countries, the fertility rate of indigenous peoples is well below the 2.1 children per couple needed to sustain a population, but only a few acknowledge there is a problem. Most nations are satisfied to use mass immigration as a device to make up for demographic collapse, importing workers to make up for the children natives elect not to have, but there have been some counter movements. In Denmark the realisation that the national sex education programme for children had been so remarkably successful it was putting people off having children at all precipitated a serious rethink.
With the falling birthrate “approaching epidemic” levels, the head of a Danish fertility clinic has called for children to be taught about the collapse in fertility at age 30, when it becomes significantly harder for most women to conceive. Instead, couples should start families younger to increase their chances of having the number of children they want, which means more than two for the sake of Denmark’s long term survival.
And if $2,200 from the Italian church to have a third child isn’t enough, you might look north instead. Vladimir Putin’s ‘Mother Russia’ programme reportedly pays $9,200 to second-time mothers.
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