Poreč and Novigrad Lead the Way, More Babies Born and More People Settling

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac/Gradonacelnik.hr writes on the 30th of July, 2019, with the increase in babies being born, more and more people are actually moving from elsewhere to Poreč.

“These developments are not and cannot be the result of simple one-off measures. These positive developments are, first and foremost, the result of a stable economic situation. Poreč, besides being the most developed city in Istria, is also one of the most developed in all of Croatia. Although it has only 20,000 inhabitants, Poreč’s entrepreneurs have created 1,000 new, year-round jobs over the past four years alone. This is one of the main reasons why many young families choose Poreč as their place of residence. It is up to us, as the city, to ensure quality living conditions for all,” says Poreč’s mayor Loris Peršurić.

He adds that in two years, they have independently built two new elementary schools, so that all children can take classes in one, morning, shift. In addition, they are building a second kindergarten this year due to the increased demand for enrollment and a steady increase in the number of children attending the facilities, and a grant of 85 percent for that from the Ministry of Agriculture has been successfully obtained.

”The city distributes the largest types of scholarships in the country for students, it co-finances supplementary health insurance for all retirees and provides other benefits such as co-financed accommodation in the city’s nursing home, provides the best standards in emergency medicine situations, has increased its benefit for first-born babies by 50 percent, and the social program is among those of the highest quality in the entire country,” said Peršurić, adding that they are currently developing a city model that aims to make it easier for young families to get to their hands on their first property.

Novigrad, just like Poreč, had a negative population growth rate in 2017 in terms of births, but also recorded increased migration.

“We believe that this is, in a large part, the result of our efforts to provide the best possible living conditions for our fellow citizens, especially young families, such as resolving existential housing and employment issues, introducing above-average standards in the pre-school education of children, and generally raising the social and communal standard in our city. There are a number of concrete social and other measures in place to help children, young people and young families, all with the aim of retaining or attracting them from elsewhere to our city,” says Novigrad’s mayor, Anteo Milos.

Some of the projects through which Novigrad encourages a more positive demographic picture are the (co) financing of food and equipment for infants, subsidies for the second child in kindergarten, participation in kindergarten costs, free textbooks, the co-financing of high school transportation costs and subsidised housing projects. In Novigrad this year, there has been a record number of students enrolled in the first grade in primary school, as well as a higher number of younger children in kindergartens.

As cities like Novigrad and Poreč continue to lead the way and set a valuable example to the rest of Croatia, when will the country catch up in terms of learning how to properly retain its population? The Croatian Government’s decision to lower VAT in the hospitality sector should bring positive results, but there is far more work than that to be done.

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