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Population Decline and Possible Solutions

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Population Decline and Possible Solutions

Italy has the lowest birth rate in Europe. It was also the first country where the older peopleoutnumbered the young people. Italians live longer than most other Europeans according to statistics. Italy is a country known for close family and morals. They know what family really means. Italian women have always taken care of their families and shown a lot of love to their children. However with more women workingoutside of the home today, they do not want to take the time out from their job to have children. They do not have public child care and private care is often too expensive. Families receive little or no government support to care for their families. This combined with the fact that the cost of living is higher and people are waiting until they are older to marry are some of the reasons for a decrease in population.

The problem with low birth rates is that it reduces the population size in the young. Low birth rate produces an age structure that creates future population decline. This is something that must be stopped at some point if the population is to be sustainable. The longer this problem continues, the harder it will be to reverse if this problem continues Italy's work force will fall from 23 million to 14 million before the year 2050.This means fewer people to work to produce the goods that are needed to provide economic growth. For this reason Italy started a policy called "baby bonus". This is an incentive plan to make couples want to have children or more children. The parents receive 1500 euros at the time of the baby's birth. Then every birthday up to the fourth one they receive 1500 euros, and they get a final payment of 2500 euros when the child starts school. That is 14,442 American dollars. This policy is a lengthy and costly process. I believe that it will hurt in the long run more than help.

Can low birthrates be reversed? Public policies can make a difference. National child benefits can help people who want more children. In France the birthrate is relatively high (for Europe) and the number of women in the workforce is high as well, part time work schedules are widespread, childcare is subsidized and their government gives large child allowances. I believe these policies help maintain the birthrate and economic growth. Furthermore to reverse the damage in Italy these policies need to be more in tune with the current attitudes and situations to ever be able to start to reverse this decreasing society. Some policies that have been discussed are, encouraging marriage and childbearing among younger couples, prolonged maternity leave, interest free loans for newlyweds, and increasing immigration of working age people into countries that need them would help. But I also think that we need to remember that what works in one country may not work in another.




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