Italy is the country with the lowest birth rate in the European Union. According to Eurostat, the birth rate in Italy started declining every year since 2010. During 2017, about 464,000 births were registered, which marks a low record, leaving Italy with a significantly older population and a demographic time bomb.
So, due to declining birthrates, Italy has come with the idea of reversing it by rewarding parents who have a third child between 2019 and 2021. They will be awarded a piece from the parcel of agricultural land, which is currently owned by the state.
The agriculture minister Gian Marco Centinaio said, “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,” he added.
The land-for-children idea is supported by Italy’s ultra-Catholic families minister Lorenzo Fontana, who said that this incentive will be limited. Only married couples will be given this chance, rather than those in civil unions. However, according to political commentators, this will be difficult to achieve, as the civil union has almost equal rights as marriage.
Another criterion for interested foreigners couples is to have been resident in Italy for at least 10 years.
According to Coldiretti, the association of Italian agricultural companies, the state owns 1.2million acres of farmland worth nearly £9billion.
Reacting to the statement, Corriere Della Sera asked:
The association of Italian agricultural companies, the state owns half a million hectares (1.2 million acres) of farmland worth nearly 10 billion euros ($11.3 billion). Why give them away rather than sell them, particularly at a moment when all that money could go towards the government’s many [and costly] pledges?
Well, apparently the lands are ‘at the bottom of the barrel,’ and sometimes the local councils had to pay an excessive amount of money for their upkeep.
Meanwhile, the birth rate has plummeted from 9.8 births per 1,000 inhabitants in 2008 to 7.6 per 1,000 in 2017.