Almost half of the world faces the same demographic problem: not enough babies are being born to keep up with an aging population. As a result, countries have been trying all kinds of measures to get their citizens in the mood for procreating. Japan is spending about ¥3 billion ($29.3 million) on matchmaking events and robot babies that might inspire couples to want one of their own. Saucy ad campaigns in Denmark and Singapore remind couples that they have a civic duty inside as well as outside of the bedroom.
For many, the best aphrodisiac may be more practical: baby supplies, money, cars, or refrigerators. Of course, experts are still arguing over whether governments can effectively raise birth rates through encouragement and incentives. And while these measures aren’t likely to be what tips the demographic balance in aging countries, they may contribute to “broader attributes, such as the degree of family-friendliness of a society,” according to demographer Jon Hoem.
Finland gives away a maternity package of various warm-weather clothes, pajamas, and books to families of newborns—or a cash grant of €140. And Singapore has just announced that every baby born in 2015 will get a small bag of gifts, that could include a baby sling, sippy cup, and a diaper bag—people are still voting on what items they want in the bags. (The Singaporean government says the gifts are for celebrating 25 years since the establishment of Singapore, not necessarily boosting birth rates.)
Connie’s comments: My sister who had her first-born in Singapore received monthly allowance for nanny care from the government.