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BUDAPEST, Hungary (ChurchMilitant.com) - Hungary's birthrate has increased once again as a result of government incentives.
State Secretary for Family and Youth Affairs Katalin Novák announced June 11 that the country's birthrate had jumped 5.5% over last year after the administration of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán implemented new family-friendly policies.
Novák said that relative to the same period in 2019, in the first four months of 2020, the fertility rate rose by 5.7% and one-and-a-half times more marriages were recorded.
The Hungarian Central Statistics Office (KSH) corroborated the figures, reporting that 1,522 more children were born in the first four months of 2020 than in the same period of 2019, representing the 5.5% increase.
Novák explained Hungary's pro-family strategy to Breitbart News in April:
The Hungarian point of view is that we have to rely on our internal resources, namely supporting families and enabling young couples to have children. The other approach says that there is overpopulation in one half of the world, while there is a population decline in the other, so let's just simply balance the difference.
"[We] are lectured and stigmatized simply because we took a path that is different from the mainstream ... [and] exposed to continuous attacks for years," she said, "but facts are facts, our results are clear, and we also enjoy the support of the Hungarian people."
The government's efforts to create a strong Hungary through pro-family legislation has been spearheaded by Orbán, who has stated repeatedly that the best answer to population decline is pro-family social and economic incentives — not large-scale immigration.
Last year, for example, the Hungarian government passed pro-family legislation to fund the Family Protection Action Plan. The plan increased the government's spending on families to the equivalent of £619 million pounds ($700 million).
Hungarian pro-family policies were notable for having been informed by a 10-question, "Defense of Family" survey distributed to more than 8 million Hungarian households.
Based on the information gathered from the survey, the government began designing and offering various incentives including €30,000 ($34,000) loans for married couples with built-in benefits, a lifelong exemption from personal income tax for women with four children and even paid leave for grandparents who are caring for children.
We understand very well that if we are not able to turn around the negative trend of demographics ... then we will definitely not win the future. And we want to win the future, so we need more kids. We need to turn around the negative tendencies, so we have put together an action plan. We have formulated our economic policy in this direction. So the question in families — whether to be brave enough to have another kid — must not be an economic decision anymore.
While Orbán is seen as the driving force behind the pro-family policies, Novák has acted as expediter-in-chief, appointed to the state secretary position in 2018, the year Hungary designated as Year of the Family.
In a 2019 interview Orbán said:
Right now the whole of Europe is a continent of empty cradles, and something must be done about this. We want to change this on the grounds of patriotism, because we believe that if "Never more will God have Hungarians," as the [Hungarian] poet János Arany wrote, then the world itself will be worse off — and we will in particular.
He said that when he broached his pro-family policies to his colleagues in Brussels, "they called me everything that they considered to be negative, from a fascist to a homophobe and a nationalist."
As the prime minister explains it, those in Brussels "think that the numbers will be in order if they bring in at least as many migrants as the number of people lost because of that country's population decline. And that, they think, will solve the problem."
But Orbán disagrees, arguing that being pro-family is more than just an increasing population: "What we need is not numbers, but Hungarian children: We're not seeking to sustain an economic system, but Hungary, the Hungarian nation and Hungarian history; we want to encourage the continuation of our families for several generations."
"Migration for us is surrender," he said.
Novák, a lawyer and mother of three, is promising to increase funds to support Hungarian families in 2021, including such perks as free textbooks, a housing subsidy, a baby expecting subsidy, and free food for children with no diminishing of current incentives.