Lecture and abstract of the conference entitled:
Demography and the Culture of Relationship between Couples
27-29 May 2021, Hungary
Organized by Family Science Alliance, Batthyány Society of Professors and European Family Science Society
The power of family policy: Hungarian lessons for the West
Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe, is facing a demographic winter that rivals the population losses caused by the Bubonic Plague in the 1300’s. According to a 2020 study published in the Lancet, between now and 2100 it is projected that Central Europe will lose 54% of its population, Eastern Europe will lose 34% of its population, and Western Europe will lose 14% of its population. For some countries, the losses during this period will be catastrophic: Bulgaria -63%, Ukraine -61%, Poland -60%, Serbia -53%, Spain -51%, Italy -50%, Greece -47%, Hungary -47%.
Looking at these deeply troubling numbers, at least one country is taking serious action: Hungary. Since 2011 it has been instituting policies that it hopes will halt its population decline and shore up the traditional family. Indeed, Hungary increased spending on pro-family policies by 250% over the past decade and currently spends almost 5% of its GDP on pro-family policies, well above the average of European Union member states. Significantly, Hungary’s pro-family actions are showing important promise. Over the past decade the country’s fertility rate has increased by 27% (the highest increase among European Union member states) while the number of abortions has decreased by more 33%; in addition, the annual number of marriages is at a 40-year high while the annual number of divorces is at a 60-year low. While it still has a way to go (Hungary currently sees 40,000 more deaths than births each year), what is happening in Hungary could be a model for the rest of Europe.
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