Pregnant In Croatia? Move to Sali and Earn 60,000 Kuna!

Total Croatia News

June 1, 2018 — There are several ways to solve Croatia’s demographic crisis. Some municipalities are banking on paying for procreation.

Has using contraception put a dent in your love life, or wallet?

Do you wish people would pay you cold hard cash for having a baby — accident or not?

Are you looking for a way to address Croatia’s demographic exodus while ignoring the concerns of working-age Croats, 14 percent of whom have left the country?

Well then come on down to Sali on the island of Dugi Otok, where your weekend indiscretion could earn you 60,000 kunas!

The Municipality, located within Zadar’s archipelago, offers the most cash-per-first-newborn in Croatia, according to figures provided by the Ministry of Demographics, Families, Youth and Social Policy. Sali doles out the money in six payments of 10,000 kunas each for every newborn, de facto making it the most for a firstborn.

But unlike other local governments, Sali gives you 60 grand whether it’s your first or your fifth child!

What a deal! But will it work?

The concept of a “baby bonus” remains a tried and true method of encouraging population growth, ostensibly lowering the financial impact of parenthood.

Other western countries such as Canada, the Czech Republic and Italy have all offered or still offer some form of monetary compensation for giving birth. Most give a fixed cash bonus per child, like Sali, or compensate time missed at work. The effectiveness of such programs has, at best, been difficult to quantify.

Other Croatian municipalities pay on a progressing scale, giving out more cash with each child. The bigger the family, the bigger the profits!

Only some of Croatia’s municipalities and local governments provided the ministry with data. Of those available, only five municipalities do not reward procreation. Croatia’s islands, which typically have their own municipalities, often pay out the most. (Dalmatia’s “boduli” have known about declining demographics well before people started fleeing Slavonia).

Not too jazzed about living on an island? Well, you don’t have to go too far because Zadar also has the second-most generous municipality in the country: beautiful Vrsi, where your first baby will earn you at least 12,000 kunas.

Are you already making a litter? Quick! Dash on over to Vis, where the city will pay you a whopping 176,000 kuna for your third offspring! (That’s 20,000 kunas up front with the rest paid out during the child’s first ten years.)

Sali’s mayor Zoran Morović told Jutarnji List it “started the intense measures last year because we want to reverse a long-lasting negative demographic trend.”

Sali also offers free kindergarten and pre-school, as well as free textbooks for every grammar school student. The generousity follows the kids into high school, where good grades are backed with scholarships. The village and its official population of 1,698, needs it.

In 2000, Sali welcomed 15 newborns while 37 residents died. In 2010, those figures dropped to 12 and 33, respectively. Those trends reversed in 2016 (17 births and 30 deaths), well before the monetary incentive to make whoopy was introduced. So what changed?

The short answer: not much. Sali is home to the oldest fish processing plant on any island in Dalmatia, Mardešić. The municipalities’ demographic efforts coincide with the takeover and renewal of Mardešić’s facilities, thanks to a 3 million Euro investment from French firm Chancerelle at the end of last year.

The company, however, has encountered a distinctly Croatian problem: it can’t find workers to man the factory.

The Municipality’s baby bonus, for all its good intentions, can’t fix the immediate lack of a workforce. If the goal is to use the law of averages to produce someone with a better plan, it’s brilliant. One of the young “Saljani” produced by the Baby Bonus may devise a more effective plan… eventually.


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