Last week the Italian parliament passed a bill aimed at boosting the country’s low birth rate by supporting parents.
"We have approved the Family Act to support parenting, combat the falling birth rate, encourage the growth of children and young people, and the help parents reconcile of family life with work, especially for women," Premier Giuseppe Conte explained.
Italy has had declining fertility for decades. There were about 464,000 births in 2018 – the lowest on record.
Some experts have speculated that Italy’s older population – due to low birth rates and rising life expectancy – is part of the explanation for the terrible toll of the Covid-19 pandemic in the northern regions of the country. The median age is now 45.9, compared to the European median of 42.8.
The demographic crisis is thought to be both a symptom and a cause of Italy's chronically stagnant economy.
The new law provides a universal monthly allowance for children to be paid from the seventh month of pregnancy until a child turns 18, longer paternity leave, salary supplements for mothers returning to work, and increasing funding for childcare.
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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