With record low numbers of births registered in Italy last year, they now have the lowest birthrate in Europe. The Italian government has just pledged to provide state-held farmland for 20 years to every family who has a third child between 2019 and 2021.
The move is directed to reverse the declining birth rate, which analysts attribute to the lack of childcare benefits and other economic uncertainties that has kept many young Italians from having children.
The same families will also be allowed to get zero-interest loans worth 200,000 euros (£175,000) if they purchase their first home near their new land.
“They say that Italians have few children and that something is needed to turn the trend around. That’s why the ministry wants to contribute, favouring rural areas in particular, where people still have children,” Italian Agriculture Minister Gian Marco Centinaio mentioned when commenting on the so-called “land-for-children” idea.
Only 464,000 births in Italy last year, in early May, Italy’s National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) reported that the country’s population was expected to continue to shrink in the coming decades, losing up to 6.5 million by 2065.
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