Families in Western countries are often encouraged—whether subtly or directly—to limit the number of children they have. But in Italy, the government is paying families to have more babies.
Why? Italy’s already-low birth rate has fallen even further in 2021 with 7.272 births per 1,000 people, a 1.61% decline from last year. Meanwhile, their death rate in 2021 was 10.749 per 1,000 people.
That means more people are dying than are born in Italy, a trend that’s creating what one new report calls a “demographic crisis.” The trend is so worrisome that the Istat national statistics agency warns that Italy’s population could decrease by as much as 20% by January 2070.
In an attempt to encourage families to have more children, the Council of Ministers approved a “universal single allowance” for children. The Italian government will pay families €175 to €50 per month until the child is 18, then €85 to €25 a month until the child turns 21. The allowance is called “universal” because any Italian residents who have dependent children can qualify.
Will Italy’s incentives help bring the birth rate back up? Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham says it might, but it won’t solve the underlying problem.
Why Has Italy’s Birth Rate Declined So Much?
Italian families have had fewer children since the 2008 financial crisis, reports the BBC. Then, when COVID-19 hit, the birth rate continued to decline because of the pandemic’s devastating financial fallout.
But Ken Ham says that’s not the whole story.
While economic pressures can certainly impact a family’s decision to have children, it’s important to take religious factors into account as well.
“You see, generations have been raised with man’s word as their foundation rather than God’s Word,” he says. “By and large, the younger generations now hold to the religion of secular humanism. And in this religion, man is the authority (‘god’) and man sets the rules.
“As part of indoctrinating generations into humanism, children and young people have been taught that their happiness is paramount, that children hold you back from education and a successful career, that children are expensive, that catastrophic climate change supposedly paints a bleak future, and that abortion is an essential human right.”
What Does God’s Word Say About Children?
When we read the Bible, we see that God places very high value on children and family. In fact, the family was one of the first and most fundamental human institutions that God created.
When God made Adam and Eve, He blessed them and commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28, ESV).
And in Psalm 127:3-5, we see that God calls children a blessing:
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
Clearly, God highly values children. Jesus confirmed this truth every time He interacted with little ones. To Jesus, children weren’t a nuisance or a burden. They were treasured human beings with inherent worth.
When Jesus was busy, He still took time to bless the children who came to Him (see Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18). And He even commanded His disciples to emulate children’s humility and faith (see Matthew 18:1-6).
As we see in God’s Word, His desire is that godly families raise their children to know and love Jesus so His gospel can continue to spread wherever they live.
Learn More About Raising a Godly Family at Answers TV!
Raising godly children in our secular culture is no easy task, especially when the media targets them with humanist ideas and beliefs.
But at Answers TV, you can feel good about the God-honoring, entertaining content they watch. Each of our videos upholds God’s Word and teaches viewers how to stand firm in their Christian faith.
Here are some of our favorite kids’ shows to get you started: