This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Hungarian Prime Minister Blames Low Fertility on "Liberal Democracy"

According to a report today from US News and World Report, the Hungarian government is blaming its low fertility and declining population on liberal democracy, and it intends to fight back.
Hungary's government will launch measures to stop and then reverse a demographic decline by 2030, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday, as he blamed liberal democracy for undermining traditional families.
Orban said the key question was whether the Hungarian nation was preserved "biologically and in numbers" and what the government should do to stop the demographic decline. He said the government would launch a "serious family policy action plan" but did not go into detail.
Liberal democracy had failed to halt immigration, protect Christian culture or strengthen the traditional family of one man and one woman, Orban said.
"Christian democracy protects us from migration, defends the borders, supports the traditional family model of one man, one woman, considers the protection of our Christian culture as a natural thing," he said.
Orban, 54, took power in 2010 and has continually increased his control over the media, put allies in charge of once-independent institutions and campaigned on a platform of fierce hostility to immigration.
This seems more like a rant against Muslim immigrants than anything else, especially since low fertility and population decline have been characteristics of the entire Central and Eastern European region for a long time. Hungary's next-door neighbor, Romania, has been experiencing similar trends and a paper just out in Demographic Research by two Romanian demographers suggests, somewhat ironically, that the best route to higher fertility in Romania is by increasing the levels of female labor force participation which can increase economic development and make it easier for couples to be able to afford children. This is probably not what the Hungarian Prime Minister wants to hear, but it just might work.

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