No problem with population growth in Bol on Brac.
Demographic problems of Croatia have recently become a frequent subject of discussion, particularly since the incoming government has announced that it might establish a dedicated Ministry of Family and Demographic Renewal which should try to convince Croats to have more babies. However, there is one small municipality on the island of Brač which seems to have found its own solution to the problem, reports Juranji List on January 18, 2016.
In order to encourage demographic renewal, the municipality of Bol annually pays out of its local budget between 250,000 and 300,000 kuna for newborns. The incentives paid to parents depend on the number of children they have so, for example, for their sixth child parents are eligible to receive as much as 120,000 kuna. “From our local budget, we give parents 7,000 kuna for their first child, second child receives 15,000 kuna, while third child gets 30,000 kuna. In addition, we have given 7,000 kuna each to several infertile couples in order to help them solve their problem”, said Stipe Karmelić, the head of the municipal administration.
He also pointed out that the municipality has adopted the decision to give 60,000 kuna to every fourth child in a family, 90,000 kuna for a fifth child, and 120,000 kuna for a sixth child. However, in the last ten years, since the decision was adopted, there were no families which have decided to have more than three children.
“In the last few years, the first grade of the Bol primary school enrols on average between 15 and 20 children, while a decade ago there were years when we would have only three or four students in the first grade. Also, the kindergarten in Bol currently cannot accommodate all the children, which was not the case previously”, said Karmelić. He emphasized that the allocation of funds for newborns in Bol has contributed to the positive demographic situation, so every year there are between 20 and 25 babies born in the municipality. In comparison, the number of deaths is about 12 people in an average year.
According to the 1971 census, there were about a thousand inhabitants in the area of Bol, while now the municipality is home to about 1,700 inhabitants. “The demographic growth is also the result of the development of tourism industry, as well as people who have moved here, but our financial incentives for newborns have also given important contribution to these positive demographic trends”, concluded Karmelić.