Managing population change

Case study: pro-natalist policy in France

Many areas of Europe have a low fertility rate [fertility rate: The average number of babies born to each woman. ] because of the following reasons:

  • education - people are more aware of the availability of contraception and consequences an unplanned pregnancy can have on their career
  • women in careers - Women may choose to follow their career choice rather than start a family while young
  • later marriages
  • state benefits - couples no longer need children to help care for them when older

France was a country with concerns that professional women were choosing not to have children. The government were worried that the population was not going to replace itself over time.

The policies that were put in place to encourage three-children families were:

  • a cash incentive of £675 monthly (nearly the minimum wage) for a mother to stay off work for one year following the birth of her third child
  • the 'carte famille nombreuse' (large family card), giving large reductions on train fares
  • income tax based on the more children the less tax to pay
  • three years paid parental leave, which can be used by mothers or fathers
  • government subsidised daycare for children under the age of three, and full time school places for over threes paid for by the government

This has resulted in mothers considering having children and remaining in work. The fertility rate [fertility rate: The average number of babies born to each woman. ] in France is one of Europe's highest.

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