Geography CORE (Patterns and Change)
Population in Transitions
Pro-natalist policy: A policy that tries to increase birth rates and total fertility rate. You can not force people to have children, so you have to offer incentives e.g. free education.
Countries may introduce a pro-natalist policy because:
- They have an ageing population (increased dependency ratio)
- They have a shortage of economically active (low births rates and total fertility rates)
You can not force people to have children, so pro-natalist policies normally work by offering incentives. Incentives may include:
- Extended maternity and paternity leave and pay (maternity leave is holiday (time off work) given to the mother after she has given birth, paternity leave is holiday given to the husband after the mother has given birth - in most countries paternity leave is very short (maybe 2 weeks and often unpaid))
- Free or subsidised childcare
- Free of subsidised education and healthcare
In some countries like Singapore the problem is that people are concentrating on their education and careers and getting married later and therefore have less time to have children. To overcome this problem the Singapore government is hosting speed dating nights, singles holidays, etc. to try and match make and encourage earlier marriage.
However, even with financial incentives, having a child is not something to make money from. In the UK is has been estimated that the cost of rearing of one child is 200,000 pounds. Therefore the aim of pro-natalist policies is to encourage couples who want children, but might possibly be delaying having them because they can't quite afford it.
Singapore's Pro-natalist Policy
Singapore is a developed country in SE Asia with a population of about 5 million people. For many years the Singaporean government has believed that Singapore is underpopulated and has tried to increase its population. Singapore has one of the lowest total fertility rates in the world, standing at 1.1, which is well below the replacement rate of 2.1. Already 36% of the Singapore population is made up of foreign nationals and in some sectors like industry, 80% of the workers are foreign.
To overcome worker shortages, the Singapore government has encouraged immigration, but it is also trying to increase the population through raising birth rates. The government is doing this in a number of ways. It has increased maternity leave by 50% to 12 weeks and it will cover the cost of maternity leave (the cost to the parents employers) for the…