Countries need a fertility rate of just over two children per woman to attain what demographers call ‘replacement fertility’ — the rate at which births fill the gaps left by deaths.
There are nations which don’t hit that rate — and their methods to encourage their people to have more productive sex can range from the practical — if not bizarre — to the downright offensive.
Here are 10 countries begging people to have sex for the good of their nations…
Fertility rate is around 1.73 children per woman, and there are a number of incentives to get women to have more kids, such as the offer to provide three-year worth of baby supplies to couples who conceived on a holiday booked through a travel agency. Another is a campaign called ‘Do it for Mom‘ – a video which guilt trips couples into having kids so that their mothers can have grandchildren.
According to Tech Insider, Russia is experiencing a slew of anti-baby problems. HIV and alcoholism are rife, women aren’t having children and men are dying young. In 2007, the government declared September 12 the official Day of Conception – where people get the day off for making babies. Women who give birth exactly nine months later – on June 12, win a fridge.
A 2011 survey found that 61 per cent of unmarried men and 49 per cent of women aged 18-34 weren’t in any kind of romantic relationship. To try and get their young people creating families, scientists came up with Yotaro — a robot baby designed to give people a preview of parenthood. Students at the University of Tsukuba theorised that if young people could see themselves as potential mothers and fathers, they’d be more emotionally ready to settle down.
During communist times, if you weren’t providing future state labourers by having kids, you had to pay instead. There was a 20 per cent income tax for childless couples, and in the 1980s, women were forced to take gynaecological exams to ensure that all pregnancies went to term. Today, the fertility rate is still rock bottom.
Singapore has the lowest fertility rate in the world, with just 0.81 children per woman. To deal with the crisis, the government came up with National Night – an event sponsored to encourage couples to ‘let their patriotism explode’. There’s also a limit on the number of small one beds available to rent to encourage cohabitation, and the government reportedly spends around $1.6bn on various programmes to get people to have more sex. In fact, the government offers cash to people who have more than one child. Parents receive a ‘baby bonus’ of around $4,400 for their first two kids and $5,900 for their third and fourth.
- South Korea
Offices turn off their lights at 7pm on the third Wednesday of every month, known as Family Day. Workers are encouraged to get themselves home so that they can enjoy some lights-out action.
While the general population of India is thriving, their Parsis community is slowly dwindling. And that has led to a number of questionable ads encouraging people to ‘Be responsible – don’t use a condom tonight.’ Other campaigns have shamed men living at home with lines like ‘Isn’t it time you broke up with your mum?’ Brutal but effective – there were just 61,000 Parsis living in the country in 2001, and at the last census, there were 69,000.
Italians’ fertility rate is below the European average. So, government has started campaigns to remind Italians that time stands still for no (wo)man. Lines include: ‘Beauty knows no age, fertility does,’ and ‘Get going! Don’t wait for the stork.’
- Hong Kong
Inspired by Singapore, Hong Kong started giving out cash to couples to encourage them to have kids. Alas, the plan never quite took off.
As unemployment rates are rising, fertility rates are dropping. Half of young people are out of work. And to combat the trend, the Spanish government has hired a special commissioner to try and reverse them.