October 25, 2006
Industrial Nations Increase Incentives For Babies

Faced with graying populations and the need for more younger workers to pay taxes to support growing retired populations many industrial nations are adopting pro-natal policies. France has managed to achieve a fertility rate high above the average in Europe.

While falling birthrates threaten to undermine economies and social stability across much of an aging Europe, French fertility rates are increasing. France now has the second-highest fertility rate in Europe -- 1.94 children born per woman, exceeded slightly by Ireland's rate of 1.99. The U.S. fertility rate is 2.01 children.

What I'd like to know: what is the native French fertility rate and what is the Muslim fertility rate? The French need babies that'll grow up to be smart, highly skilled, and work in occupations with high pay and hence big tax revenue boosters.

French government incentives for reproduction are seen as the cause of the higher French fertility rate.

France heavily subsidizes children and families from pregnancy to young adulthood with liberal maternity leaves and part-time work laws for women. The government also covers some child-care costs of toddlers up to 3 years old and offers free child-care centers from age 3 to kindergarten, in addition to tax breaks and discounts on transportation, cultural events and shopping.

This summer, the government -- concerned that French women still were not producing enough children to guarantee a full replacement generation -- very publicly urged French women to have even more babies. A new law provides greater maternity leave benefits, tax credits and other incentives for families who have a third child. During a year-long leave after the birth of the third child, mothers will receive $960 a month from the government, twice the allowance for the second child.

Tax cuts for women who have children make sense because the taxes not paid by mom get offset in the longer run by taxes paid when the babies grow up and start working. The tax cuts should be in percentage terms so that higher income and higher tax paying people receive greater incentives to have children. People in high tax brackets tend to have children who reach higher tax brackets.

Other governments are offering financial incentives for couples that have kids.

Australia offers a $2,000 bonus to each couple that has a third child. "Go home and do your patriotic duty tonight," finance minister Peter Costello urged Australians in May.

Estonia will pay a mother a full year's wages to have a child. Singapore offers cash payments of about $10,000 for third or fourth children, and more vacation days for working parents.

In Estonia women who have babies can receive as much as 2.4 times the average $650 per month salary for a year.

Estonia's wake-up call came in 2001, when the United Nations' annual world-population report showed that Estonia was one of the fastest-shrinking nations on earth, at risk of losing nearly half its 1.4 million people by mid-century. Estonia's fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears -- had collapsed to 1.3 in the late 1990s, down from 2.2 under communism only a decade earlier.

In an attempt to stop that downward spiral, Estonia took a bold step: In 2004 it began paying women to have babies. Working women who take time off after giving birth get their entire monthly income for up to 15 months, up to a ceiling of $1,560. Non-wage-earners get $200 a month. The welfare perk -- known locally as the "mother's salary" -- was a sharp about-face for the radically free-market government.

Other European governments are trying money for babies.

Some European countries are experimenting with monthly cash compensation to women who leave work to have babies, including Lithuania, Austria and Slovenia. Starting next year, Germany and Bulgaria plan to pay new mothers benefits linked to their previous earnings. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who bemoaned his country's lack of children in his last state-of-the-nation speech in May, has also promised more aid to parents.

These policies need to be crafted to provide the biggest incentives for the smartest women. On average smarter women make more from their jobs. So fixed cash amounts per month tend to favor reproduction by lower income, less skilled, and less bright women. The Bulgarian and German plans to link the size of benefits to previous earnings will provide better incentives for the women who'll have - on average - higher achieving offspring.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 October 25 10:21 PM  Trends Demographic

Steel Turman said at October 26, 2006 6:52 AM:

From the Brookings Institute.

Muslim birth rate three times that of European birth rate.

It's worth the read for more facts.

Beemac said at October 26, 2006 7:05 AM:

I think there are two factors at work here; education and taxes. The better educated a women is, the fewer children she has. This happens all over the world, not just in industrial countries. In Europe, taxes and regulation drive up the costs of everything and make it more expensive to have a child. The governments "give backs" don't cover the cost of a child, so parents are discouraged from having many if any children.

The USA is keeps growing because of immigration (not the alleged higher Hispanic birth rate) which Europe has discouraged and also not assimilated those who have gotten in. It's been pointed out that Muslims immigrants have larger families than the locals and may be a problem as the numbers shift.

Jake said at October 26, 2006 7:56 AM:

I agree with Steel. Take out the Muslim birthrate and you will find that France's policies have not been that successful.

To increase the birthrate, citizens must enjoy a rising standard of living and have optimism about their future. Both items are in short supply in Europe.

Steel Turman said at October 26, 2006 10:00 AM:

Jake ...

It's even worse than that. In 2050, providing Europe lasts that long, Muslims will have voting majorities in over half of the EU's member nations.

Not good. Not good at all.

I don't know the solution, but since the Muslim immigres seem to eschew integration - I think a realignment of voting rights will require some serious consideration.

It's ludicrous to allow recent immigrants full citizenship without some real investment of themselves in the process.

A lesson we will be learning in this country very soon.

Phoenix said at October 26, 2006 10:16 AM:

I don't think it is that immigrants to Europe refuse to assimilate. I think they are 'kept from' assimilating. We are so different here in America that assimilation is simply part of the process of how life goes on here. We don't think twice about accepting anyone, and, in fact, make it a point to expect the same from an immigrant as we would ourselves - work hard, play right, and join the gang.

But, yes, Europe won't be the same place in fifty years. People only take pride in a land that takes pride in them and their accomplishments. If they have no chance for accomplishment, why care? Disaster ahead.

Dave said at October 26, 2006 11:02 AM:

In France one in three babies is a Muslim, when Muslims make up 10% of the population, the alleged rise in French birth rate is nonsense, it is simply that they have more North Africans than they used to who have a higher birth-rate.
In Britain not long ago some lefty newspaper was getting excited about how the new positive economic situation had caused us to start breeding again, a claim soon rubbished by people who looked more closely at the figures.

"The ONS birth statistics for England in 2004 showed that nearly 20% of births were to mothers born overseas - 50% of the births in London."

"Mohammed is already the most popular name for new-born boys in Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam"

If you want to a look a 'European' birth-rates you have to look at countries a little more homogenous like Scotland, because many EU countries refused to publish detailed statistics (wonder why?). Scotland have a birth-rate of 1.4 .. one of the lowest in the history of the human race.

James Bowery said at October 26, 2006 11:51 AM:

Here's what W.D. Hamilton had to say about such race replacement policies:

"...the cost in fitness of such altruism and sublimated pugnacity to the individuals concerned is by no means metaphorical, and the benefits to fitness, such as they are, go to a mass of individuals whose genetic correlation with the innovator must be slight indeed. Thus civilization probably slowly reduces its altruism of all kinds, including the kinds needed for cultural creativity (see also Eshel 1972)."


Roger Dodger said at October 26, 2006 1:04 PM:

This is some of the most blatantly racist stuff I have ever heard. You people call yourself scientists?

What's so valuable about the "native" french that they should strive to increase their own birthrates while the birthrates of those in less developed countries are so high that they're starving to death? Isn't the immigration into frace the absolute best imaginable solution to this problem? When these muslim children grow up, won't they be assimilated and begin to provide the taxes to provide for the elderly?

You people are so xenophobic it's unbelievable. HAIL TO THE GLORY OF THE WHITE MAN.

Bob Badour said at October 26, 2006 2:08 PM:
What's so valuable about the "native" french that they should strive to increase their own birthrates while the birthrates of those in less developed countries are so high that they're starving to death?

For a start, they keep the lawns mowed over our fallen soldiers' graves. The french, like we do, value liberty and the rights of individuals. They have a culture borne of the same philosophies, religions, and founding civilizations as ours. They are a great civilized culture capable of loyalty to a nation state, of cooperation on a massive scale, of innovation etc.

Isn't the immigration into frace the absolute best imaginable solution to this problem?

What problem? The problem of rising living standards, of better education or of rising productivity?

When these muslim children grow up, won't they be assimilated and begin to provide the taxes to provide for the elderly?

Not just no, but hell no. Read the Qur'an. It's arguably the vilest piece of intolerant hate propaganda created by man.

rsilvetz said at October 26, 2006 2:11 PM:

But Roder Dodger, that's the whole problem -- Muslims are not assimilating. In the US, for all the complaints about Hispanics, they are assimilating. I'm surrounded by them in San Diego and I'm not troubled one bit. Why? Their kids are already bilingual, IPODed to death and in school. I don't have any facts either way about Muslims in the U.S., but the reports from Canada make it pretty clear they are trying to set up the old "parallel and equal" crap -- don't pester us and by the way, we are running Sharia law. What do you think happens when a Canadian Muslim woman wants to assert her rights under that kind on nonsensical, antipodal, double-jurisdictional system?

It's not racism. This is subversion by forced migration and differential effective fertility. Or if you prefer the late Carrol Quigley: Islamic civilization is in a second period of Expansion at the time that Western Civilization is moving from Universal Empire to Decay. The two formulations are identical.

James Bowery said at October 26, 2006 2:38 PM:

Reality is "racist". Being against "racism" is like being against sex during Victorian England.

Hypocrites are having the time of their lives right now being everyone's or "papa" -- or, if you will "pope".

Who's your daddy, hypocrite?

Roger Dodger said at October 26, 2006 6:09 PM:

These people come from some of the most poverty stricken places on earth; the places where they're going have a lack of young workers to replace the aging population. Allowing these willing to work, hard working immigrants to take jobs that our own lazy citizens consider below them seems like the perfect, common sense solution.

This is a win-win situation, and only racists would be against it. But you've already shown that that's exactly what you are.

Islam isn't a hateful religion, BTW. It's only made that way by their own economic situation. If they had a standard of living on par with europe's (which they only have through years of subverting others) they would still be religious, just like today's christians, yet they would be moderate enough to take on western attitudes and common sense.

But like I've said, you are all racists. You worship your own white genes just because it so happened that your particular ethnicity won history. You believe that there's something "special" about yourself, when in reality SCIENCE has shown that there is absolutely no difference between the "races" that people have invented to divide themselves. No race has anything that sets it above others. Melanin is the largest real difference between races.

If anyone is an inferior person, it's you people who believe this crap.

Dave said at October 26, 2006 6:35 PM:

except ofcourse what you say is not true Roger Dodger, France does not need young workers, it has infact one of the highest levels of unemployment in Europe (due to over regulation, not laze), its hard to say a figure because there is a lot of playing with the numbers but it certainly runs into the millions and is particularly bad for young people.

Jake said at October 26, 2006 6:51 PM:

Rodger Dodger:

Muslims in the UK do not consider themselves British. Muslims in France do not consider themselves French. Muslims in the Netherlands do not consider themselves Dutch. Instead they consider themselves Muslim and their culture is the one they were born into-primitive village culture. Their main goal is to destroy the Western society they live in.

Any growth of the Muslim population means the end of European democracy (such as it is) and the subjugation of women. Being for democracy and against the subjugation of women is not racist. If you think it is than you are 60 days away from strapping explosives to your chest and pushing the button.

Roger Dodger said at October 26, 2006 7:02 PM:

You people are hopeless xenophobes.

Muslims aren't "primative" because of their culture; they're that way because of their socio-economic standing. As soon as that improves, they'll become better citizens.

No matter where it is, everywhere on earth, poor people cause more crime. When they become middle-class, crime goes down.

But I assume you'll keep believing it's because they aren't white. I know people like you.

Roger Dodger said at October 26, 2006 7:04 PM:

Case in point: Irish immigrants used to be responsible for a good portion of the crime in new york. Irish aren't stereotyped as criminals anymore. Why?

Randall Parker said at October 26, 2006 7:22 PM:

Roger Dodger,

No, the Arab North African states are not the most poverty stricken on Earth. The states to the south of them are far far poorer. Morocco's per capita GDP is $4200. Algeria is $7200 per capita. Those are rich places compared to Niger at $900 or Cote d'Ivoire at $1600.

A $7200 per capita GDP is much higher than the United States per capita GDP 100 years ago. The US in 1900 had a per capita GDP of about $5000 which Chile achieved only in 1990. But Chile's achievement is much less because technology for producing goods and services made achievement of $5k per capita income far easier in 1990 than it was in 1900.

You can huff and puff and accuse people of racism rather than argue the evidence. But on the internet commissars can not shut down discussion of evidence with accusations of racism. The gate keepers have lost the ability to affect a morally superior pose as a response to views they dislike.

Replacement populations do not solve the problem of aging populations if the immigrants have incompatible values and do worse in schools and in the job market. Show us evidence that the Muslim immigrants to Europe do just as well in school and in the workplace. Or show us evidence that the Muslims are freedom-lovers who want equal rights for women and for those who are not Muslims.

Rob said at October 26, 2006 8:50 PM:

The fact that they have babies when they will starve is a pretty good reason not to get mixed up with them.

In what ways are there no differences between human races? Are all allele frequencies the same?

The French have the same right to not have Alegerians there as the Algerians have to not have Frenchmen in their country.

Steel Turman said at October 26, 2006 9:35 PM:

Hey Roger?

Allow me to bring you into reality.

It is NOT racism to wonder or consider the consequences of unlimited immigration.

It is called ... common sense.

Now, before you reply, let me inform you that my children are black.

You are what is known as a patronizing, NIMBY, hypocrite.

Spout all you want. Scream to the high high heavens.

You are still a patronizing hypocrite.

All of your protestations will not alter that fact one bit.

It won't make you more human. It won't make you more good.

It WILL make you the obvious racist that you are.

Underneath that ever so thin skin.

When your daughter marries a man of another race or when your grandchild is a different color ... give us a shout.

Until then, shut the fuck up.

And make sure you make it to class tomorrow.


Phoenix said at October 26, 2006 10:29 PM:

>Islamic civilization is in a second period of Expansion at the time that Western Civilization is moving from Universal Empire to Decay. The two formulations are identical.>Islamic civilization is in a second period of Expansion at the time that Western Civilization is moving from Universal Empire to Decay. The two formulations are identical.>Islamic civilization is in a second period of Expansion at the time that Western Civilization is moving from Universal Empire to Decay. The two formulations are identical.>Islamic civilization is in a second period of Expansion at the time that Western Civilization is moving from Universal Empire to Decay. The two formulations are identical.

This statement, of all the above, distresses me so. It is close to truth, and all I can think about is the immense hard work that has gone into our young civilization to make it the greatest ever known.
Civilizations die when governments don't give enough to their people or give too much or when they are conquered from outside. To think we might be 'conquered' by a culture/civilization that has produced little of value in over a thousand years just blows my mind. The word 'decay' bothers me, though. Is that 'decay' going to be from ignorance cleaving to the mindset of political correctness?

Phoenix said at October 26, 2006 10:31 PM:

Sorry about the html.

aa2 said at October 26, 2006 11:48 PM:

One thing is read about the black death. In that period much wealth was destroyed on paper, but real wealth per capita increased. Farms instead of being split apart and passed to many children in pieces.. was often actually conglomerated and passed down. Imagine your uncle dies childless, and your parents die leaving you with estates from both sides of the family. So the capital of that day, mainly farm land was held by fewer people, because fewer people were left.

The European equivilant would be massively falling housing prices down to almost nothing. So young people could afford to live in a nice home for not much money. In that situation rebirth should follow as the young enjoy economic liberty sooner and easier. The 'problem' is capitalists are wiped out in such a change. The usurers and the landowners are reduced to minor roles in society. The state also falls in significance as things like crime or poverty in the nation fall.

Bob Badour said at October 27, 2006 9:27 AM:


I am curious regarding your new policy about civil discourse. I respectfully suggest asking for reasons one might preserve a culture and then accusing any who answer of racism for focusing on culture is uncivil--among other things I won't enumerate to preserve civility.

Replacement populations do not solve the problem of aging populations if the immigrants have incompatible values and do worse in schools and in the job market.

Replacement populations don't solve anything. Aging populations are not a problem in the first place--at least not for the population. Aging populations and declining populations no doubt pose a problem for those who seek power from and over the population, but they don't cause any problems whatsoever for the people themselves.

If parents decide to concentrate their wealth among relatively few heirs, replacing the population is merely a means to usurp their decision and to steal their wealth from them by holding down living standards and productivity.

rsilvetz said at October 27, 2006 2:23 PM:

Going back to the original article: Is the total cost of government (taxes+regulations+legally_caused disinvestment), which in the US has been estimated at creating a price/cost level 8-fold higher than it need be, and as high as 11_13-fold for some European states (notable France), the actual cause of the poor birth rates? If a couple cannot reasonably accumulate capital or assets for family planning one either procreates in spite (irresponsibly) or one waits (typical responsible reaction).

And what has been the contribution of feminism, which clearly shifted procreative choices from women in their 20's to women in their 30's?

Bob Badour said at October 27, 2006 2:30 PM:

Why not just let the population decline?

Dave said at October 27, 2006 3:59 PM:

Yeah, Japan has a declining population without mass immigration, not doing them much harm is it? some economists would probably say it is, but in the long term they will be a lot better off than Europe.

Population decline is not a problem, in Britain 60 years ago there was only 45million people living here but now there is well over 60million, government says its 60million but there are a lot of people not on official stats. Many people have been suggesting for years that our island is over populated it wouldn't have hurt at all for our population to get smaller, and when it did and there was less pressure on the housing market young people would probably start having families sooner as well, so the 'problem' would solve itself.

However the implications of the most smart/fit people in society having a dramatically reduced birth-rate is interesting. Assuming no immigration how long would it take for society to become noticably dumber? I know it depends on a lot of factors, but could it happen really quite fast or not really, from your other post about high IQ people moving out of the heartland suggests not?

Bob Badour said at October 27, 2006 5:38 PM:


With a declining population, the dumber folks would have better job opportunities and fewer handouts. It is conceivable that with better career opportunities some of the women who are professional breeders now would choose a different path in life. Thus the disparity in total fertility might not be as large as it is now. But, of course, that is total speculation.

Even if the disparity in fertility remains or grows, the reduced supply of labour means the less intelligent would impose less overall cost on their neighbours and would more likely contribute economically thereby obviating the biggest problem of a dumbed down population.

Randall Parker said at October 27, 2006 6:00 PM:


I'm trying to enforce more civil rules of discourse. But occasionally (e.g. last night) I do not have time to read the comments all that closely.

However, in this case I think the accusation of racism fits into a larger recurring pattern and that examination of that pattern is edifying for all concerned.

Robert Silvetz,

I think the bigger driver of later reproduction is technological advance. Muscle work was automated and that reduced the value of paying work dominated by men resulting in an increase in the value of work that can be done by both men and women.

Also, the automation of housework (dishwashing machines, vacuum cleaners, etc) freed up women to enter the labor force. They shifted from non-paying to paying work.

Also, the value of education rose. So the smarter women spend more time in school and therefore put off reproduction. Dumber women therefore have more babies than smarter women. This effect has been measured. An Australian Twins Registry study found selective pressures for genes in data that showed Catholicism increased reproduction and university education decreased it. For more on what that study found in the way of selective pressures see here and also here.

Randall Parker said at October 27, 2006 6:06 PM:

Robert Silvetz,

Speaking of selective pressures on human evolution also see Greg Cochran's recent comments about how technological discoveries and cultural changes greatly increased selective pressures on human evolution. We changed our enviroment. Therefore it exerted new pressures on us. We found new skills. Therefore the ability to exercise those skills was selected for.

Also speaking of selective pressures on recent human evolution be sure to read (if you haven't already) the Plos Biolgy paper A Map of Recent Positive Selection in the Human Genome. The idea that the human race faced few selective pressures that caused divergence since out-of-Africa is absurd. The evidence clearly shows the absurdity of this politically correct position that the commissars push.

rsilvetz said at October 27, 2006 11:12 PM:

Hi Randall,

Thanks for the article links, I will give them a look. (I'm usually buried under cancer and kidney research.)

Technological advance undoubtedly plays a part in the current causal chain (e.g. Oral contraceptives for one), but I'm trying to get to the prime movers. I usually think of technology as an economic product. All one has to do is look at the night satellite image of North Korea to realize they will all be dead in 20 years. But picking up your cue and recasting along those lines... Feminism: Would a woman really postpone childbearing if she truly understood the already dire consequences, especially now that evidence is mounting that late-30's and older women tend to have female offspring that will also have a disproportionately hard-time getting pregnant? What will 3 gens of this do to us -- infertile women is really scary possibility!

Economy: If the couple was well-off, or if the context was an economy that truly did double in real-terms every 10 years instead of the current 30-35 (and slowing), would child-rearing take off again? Is it a U-shaped curve, and we are sitting by accident at the bottom of the U? Neither poor enough to irresponsibly procreative and not rich enough to responsibly procreative?

So much food for thought on this one.

aa2 said at October 28, 2006 8:53 AM:

Rsilvetz -

I believe reproduction may well follow a U-curve. Scandanavia and the US seem to be seeing an increasing white birthrate. In time as robots take over so much, I think women will not only be able to stay home without sacrificing, but the robots will help out so much around the home it will make caring for children easier. In that situation people will fall in love and feel the desire to have children with their beloved. But not be in a position where they have to sacrifice.

And there has been talk over the last year of big families as a new status symbol. That also would be eugenic as the most successful men would win that race.

RedTuttle said at November 1, 2006 10:25 AM:

>>~If parents decide to concentrate their wealth among relatively few heirs, replacing the population is merely a means to usurp their decision and to steal their wealth from them by holding down living standards and productivity.

Ever hear of the "death tax"?

Dan Thomas said at June 1, 2007 8:20 PM:

Roger doger
You sound like a self abusive white effeminate. Muslims do not allow people to colonize their countries. Any Christians that live in Muslim countries are subjegated to horrible treatment for example Christians in the Sudan are enslaved. However, probably the only slavery you care about is slavery caused by the evil white man. If it turns you on to abuse people that have your mommas skin color that cool its a free country. However, I am just as free to point out how self abusive and femaracist (a racist that discrimbinates against people with his mommas skin color) you are acting. P.S. Thanks for paying for my sons full ride minority scholarship chump, my wife is Mexican.HA Ha Ha

joe said at December 23, 2007 10:05 PM:

Guys the muslim birth rate int doing much better in all arab nations the birth rate has been droping faster then Europe.In the not so distance future the birth rate for all arab nations will be as low if not lower then Europe.The case is all ready happening in Turkey and Iran and is falling all over North Africa as well.Even African countrys have been declineing every year most notebly in South Africa which had a black birth rate well over 4.02 now hovers in the 2.00+.In America the Haspanic fertility rate has dropped 10% and African American birth rate has declined the fastest at now only just above are lower then replacement level.The white American fertility rate reached a low of 1.78 then 2005 it was at 1.84 and this year at 1.86.The Haspanic fertility rate is really high but like I said at well over 2.46 it has beeen in decline a 10% decline from 1990.If we were to account white-haspanics in the white fertility rate then the white birth rate would be well over the blacks and near the non white haspanics.Also all over asia from Russia to South Korea the birth rate has declined and continues to.Latin America both Argentina to Mexico has seen huge drop in fertilty rate sense the 70s.This is not only a European problem but a world problem Europe will eventually adapt to this and start replaceing again.Africa will one day face the same problem they maybe replaceing today but as in every land they to will decline.I belive that asian countrys like Russia and Japan will eventually adapt and their birth rates will grow again.Europe looks like its starting to see them adapting white birth rates have been riseing a little except for Ireland.But eventually a expolsion will happen cause people can never not have kids.Kids are the most important thing in the world so haveing them will eventually be a common thing.

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