Hungary waives income tax in search of baby boom

11 Feb 19

Women in Hungary with four or more children will never have to pay income tax, the country’s prime minister has promised in a move to boost the number of babies being born.

Viktor Orbán said this was part of a measure to tackle the shrinking population without depending on immigrants.

The country’s population is falling by 32,000 every year, and the average number of children a Hungarian woman will have in her lifetime is 1.45 – below the EU average of 1.58.

Orbán said that many other countries in Europe chose to tackle falling birth rates via immigration. He said: “For every missing child, there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine.”

But he added: “Hungarian people think differently. We do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children.”

He also announced that young couples will be offered interest-free loans of up to 10m forint ($36,000), which will be cancelled once they have three children.

At the same time as Orban’s speech, 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside his Budapest office to protest against government policies controlling the number of overtime hours employees can be asked to work.

The government’s plan also includes a pledge to create 21,000 nursery places over the next three years, an extra $2.5bn to be spent on the healthcare system, housing support and financial support from the state for people buying seven-seat vehicles.

France has the highest fertility rate in the EU – with 1.96 children born per woman – while Spain has the lowest at 1.33. Niger in West Africa has the highest level in the world, with 7.24 children per woman. 

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