This Country Is Handing Out Cash, Tax Breaks, and More in an Effort to Get People to Have Kids

There are over 7 billion people alive on Earth right now. In many countries around the world, populations are getting older, increasing disease rates and causing health care costs to skyrocket. The problem is, countries need to keep their birth rates up if they don’t want their economies to fall apart. This is a lot easier said than done.

Governments try to put tax incentives in place to encourage couples to have more babies. When those don’t work, they try different methods. Thailand’s latest attempt might not be enough, but they’re trying it anyway.

Thailand’s population is shrinking

Koh Tachai island in Thailand

Thailand is a beautiful country. | WannaThongpao/iStock/Getty Images

The country has noticed a significant decline in birth rates over the past 50 years. As of 2015, women are having about 1.5 kids on average, while they were having about six each in 1960. The birth rate needs to increase to at least 2.1 to prompt population growth — but what if it doesn’t?

Officials worry that a plummeting population will create a widespread economic disaster. They’ve been trying — unsuccessfully — to conceive strategies to stop this from happening.

Next: Free condoms might not have been such a good idea, it turns out.

Condoms may be to blame

Father Putting his Baby on Car Seat

The birth rate has dropped since the 1990s. | Source: iStock

In the 1990s, health officials in Thailand launched a free condom campaign to join the fight against HIV/AIDS. It worked — maybe a little too well. Increased condom use and sex education aren’t completely at fault, but their benefits did create an unwanted side effect.

Next: Cash rewards were a good idea — maybe.

They’ve tried giving them cash …

The Thai government has tried incentivizing children. | iStock

Sometimes, governments pay people to have kids. It’s happened everywhere, from Thailand to Australia to Germany. This often takes the form of paid maternity leave, but these methods don’t always work. Often, jobs still pay more than fertility programs.

Next: Lower taxes for parents didn’t work, either.

… and tax breaks

Tax Bracket

Tax deductions couldn’t offset the cost of having children. | arekmalang/Getty Images

Officials also tried to offer significant tax deductions for families having children. They allow parents to deduct costs for everything from prenatal care to birth and delivery fees, hoping this will lower the high costs of childcare.

Neither of these financial incentives were enough to cover the high costs associated with raising and caring for a child. It was a good try, but it didn’t quite hit the mark.

Next: Will Thailand’s latest attempt get them the results they want?

Couples in Thailand are now getting ‘magic pills’

pills and multivitamins

Young couples in Thailand are getting vitamins from the government. | Valentina_G/iStock/Getty Images

They’re not as magical as many might think — just iron and folic acid tablets. Several locations around Thailand have started distributing the supplements to get couples thinking more seriously about having children.

Folic acid and iron pills can ensure a healthier pregnancy, but will they effectively encourage couples to actually consider starting families?

Next: It’s a different kind of initiative — but will it work?

Will supplements increase Thailand’s birth rate?

Will Thailand have a baby boom? | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Couples receive an information brochure along with the supplements giving them tips on how to stay healthy in order to conceive. The idea is to encourage couples to start families, or to expand the families they already have.

The government wants their citizens to have more children, but so far, nothing else has worked. Unfortunately, focusing on health might not solve the real issues surrounding the declining birth rate.

Next: Why are couples really not having as many kids?

The real reason populations are plummeting

Happy family in the park evening light. The lights of a sun. Mom, dad and baby happy walk at sunset. The concept of a happy family.Parents hold the baby's hands.

Family sizes are shrinking. | iStock.com/Lacheev

There are a few reasons why Thailand’s population is shrinking — alongside those of surrounding countries. The first is that the number of elderly people living in the country is higher than ever. They’re aging faster than they’re bringing more people into the world.

The others vary from couples waiting longer to have kids to having fewer children per household on average than previous decades. For many, it’s just not financially feasible, even with incentives.

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