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In countries with low birth rates, THW impose a childless tax

on married couples
Tax on childlessness
The tax on childlessness (Russian: налог на бездетность, nalog na bezdetnost) was imposed in
the Soviet Union and other Communist countries, starting in the 1940s, as part of
their natalist policies. Joseph Stalin's regime created the tax in order to encourage adult people to
reproduce, thus increasing the number of people and the population of the Soviet Union. The 6%
income tax affected men from the age of 25 to 50, and married women from 20 to 45 years of age.
During the Soviet Union, Russia had a higher fertility rate than it did in the years after the fall of the
Soviet Union, prompting some Russian leaders to propose bringing back the tax on
According to the Health Ministry, the birth rate coefficient dropped from 2.19 percent
to 1.17 percent in the aftermath of the Soviet Union
Falling fertility rates
The European Commission also raised an alarm bell in a 2005 study, warning European
lawmakers that falling fertility rates - averaging just 1.48, well below the 2.1 rate needed to
maintain the current population - could hurt the region's economy, living standards and
relations between generations. "Modern Europe has never had economic growth without
births," it noted.
"Purely pro-natal policies - giving people a baby bonus if they have more children and so on -
has only a marginal effect," said Mark Pierson, head of the social policy division at the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Paris. "It's not a very effective way
of encouraging fertility. The way you encourage women to have more children is to help them
work more."
Fertility rate: 2.0
Policies: Mothers can take 16 weeks paid maternity leave for the first child and up to 26
weeks for the third. Child care is subsidized, with younger children entitled to full-day child care.
A $1,300 grant is paid at the seventh month of pregnancy. There are train, subway and tax
breaks for families with children, particularly after the third child.
Fertility rate: 1.85
Policies: Fathers and mothers are entitled to 18 months paid leave from the government.
There is also subsidized child care and flexible work hours to accommodate working families.
Fertility rate: 1.84
Policies: In 2007, the government extended paid maternity leave from 26 to 39 weeks. The
measure also allows fathers up to 26 weeks of unpaid paternity leave. But child care remains
expensive, and a 2007 report by found that 9 out of 10 British mothers said
it was difficult to get a job with enough flexibility when they decided to return to work.
Fertility rate: 1.38
Policies: A historic bias exists against pro-fertility policies. However, the leftist government
of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is encouraging companies to offer child care
facilities and announced last year a grant of nearly $4,000 for babies, replacing the current
grant of $700 for the third child, depending on one's income level.
Fertility rate: 1.32
Policies: The government offers 14 weeks maternity leave and parental leave of up to 36
months - pay is variable. Day care is expensive and scarce - a problem the government is trying
to resolve. No cash incentives for children.
Fertility rate: 1.32
Policies: As in Germany, there is a dearth of affordable day care. The government offers a
one-time payment of $1,500 for having children.
Sources: European Union; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; BBC.

Reproductive rights
Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive
The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows:
Reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide
freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information
and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health.
They also include the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free
of discrimination, coercion and violence.
Countries with low population growth rates
227 Puerto Rico -0.65
228 Estonia -0.68
229 Bulgaria -0.83
230 Saint Pierre and Miquelon -1.02
231 Moldova -1.02
232 Cook Islands -3.00
233 Syria -9.73