County Slows Croatia’s Demographic Downturn With A ‘Baby Bonus’

Total Croatia News

December 17, 2018 — An island may have solved the demographic crisis plaguing Croatia.
In Preko County, on the island of Ugljan, 36 babies were born in 2018, 23 more than the year before, according to Zadarski List. It instituted a “baby bonus” to encourage young families to have more kids.
The baby bonus (paying to procreate), caught on at the local level across Dalmatia this year. Municipalities combating bleak demographic trends decided to pay families to have babies. Preko is one of several off the coast of Zadar to introduce the scheme.
The plan worked better than expected.
The municipal budget set at the beginning of the year allocated HRK 150,000 for the benefits this year. It paid out HRK 218,000.
“We planned less money, but I’m glad we were fooled,” Mayor Jure Brižič said. “I hope this is a good sign for the future and that next year will be even better.”
Deaths still outnumbered births in Preko in 2018. Regardless, the early success of the “baby bonus” program gives the mayor hope.
“I know that money is not decisive in the decision to grow a family, although it is good, especially in large families where there are three, four or more children,” Brižić added.
Some of those larger families collected their checks, including Martina and Slavko Ivanov from Poljana.
The couple first lived in Zadar, where they had two girls, then returned to the island and had two more.
“Of course this support will come in handy, especially in this holiday season when we all spend more than usual,” Mrs Ivanov said. “Whether we’re going to ‘mend’ our home budget or it’ll all be spent on kids, we have not decided yet. My husband is working, I will use the maximum maternity leave so that I stay with the children longer, and on such occasions every kuna is good.”
The municipality of Preko increased the ‘bonus’ for newborns at the beginning of the year. Families are now paid HRK 7,500 for their first child, another HRK 15,000 for their second, HRK 30,000 for the third, and HRK 60,000 for every subsequent kid.
The town has also made investments into child-related facilities, including an updated kindergarten and subsidies for school textbooks.
You can follow TCN’s coverage of Croatia’s demographic troubles at our dedicated page.


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