The government is trying to stimulate the birth rate and avoid the effects of a demographic crisis
The government has increased benefits for the first child born into a family by six times (600 %).
Moving forward, parents will receive 300,000 drams ($619) for their first child, instead of the previous 50,000 drams ($103). With such an increase, the government hopes to increase the birth rate in the country and avoid the demographic crisis threatening the country – namely, when the death rate exceeds the birth.
Other changes taking place
Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan announced the new reforms at a meeting on the council for improving the demographic situation.
In addition to an increase in benefits for having at least one child, the government raised the benefits to parents for having a second child – from 150,000 drams ($309) to 300,000 ($619).
The government also raised the monthly support to working mothers by 41% – from 18,000 ($37) to 25,500 drams ($52).
The positive changes will be felt in rural communities. A new level of support will be instituted, with mothers of children younger than two years old receiving a monthly stipend of 25,500 drams ($52).
The next reform item concerns the elimination of queues in kindergartens. In addition, children in kindergartens can be left for a longer time – from 08:30 to 19:00, which is helpful for working parents.
“I would like to add that these programmes have just begun, and from 2021 we should discuss a new national ideology. From 2021, we should have, on average, at least three children per family. All of our programmes should enable every average Armenian family to have three children, at a minimum,” Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan announced.
What triggered the reforms
Armenia is experiencing a demographic crisis and gradually losing its population.
“This year, for the first time in history, depopulation was recorded in the Lori region; mortality exceeded the birth rate by 90 cases. At the republican level, we have not yet entered the stage of depopulation, but if nothing is done, then in four to five years, according to the UN forecasts, mortality will exceed the birth rate throughout the country,” said Tsovinar Harutyunyan, assistant representative, UN Population Fund in Armenia.
According to experts, the crisis is due to the fact that the generation born in the 1990s is now entering marriage age, yet these years were the most difficult in the modern history of Armenia. There was war; the country was blockaded and the economy in crisis. In such a situation, very few had children.
In addition, the generation of the 90s is 40% fewer in number than those born in the 1980s. And this affects the number of marriages and birth rates today. Moreover, 20-25 percent of the 90s generation emigrated.
Another reason for the population decline threatening the country is that young men do not want to get married and take on family responsibilities..
In addition, among 20 to 40 year olds, there is a demographic imbalance, with 60,000 men within that age range currently not in the country. The main reason for this imbalance is emigration.
What people on social media say
This news did not go unnoticed among Armenians on Facebook. Several of the comments include:
“Excellent programme! Hopefully, little-by-little everything will improve.”
“And even now you could find people in the country who would say that nothing has changed.”
“This is, more or less, the only normal post-revolution news!”
“And why do we live in Europe? We can return to Armenia, give birth to three, four and even five children and earn a living. If all this is implemented, believe me, there will be no Armenians in Europe!”
“Finally, they’ve done something well. But for those that have three kids, they still haven’t decided anything.”