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Jordan Peterson praises Hungarian family policy in face of demographic winter

During a discussion with British-born demographer and documentary filmmaker Stephen J. Shaw, renowned Canadian clinical psychologist and best-selling author Jordan B. Peterson mentioned Hungary’s family support policy as the only known example of a government-imposed incentive program that has measurably slowed population decline, writes Hungary Today.

Peterson began by citing the example of the Canadian province of Quebec, which has tried to introduce measures to reverse the low birth rate, such as making daycare more accessible to young women. In his view, however, this has had no positive impact on the ongoing population decline. Stephen Shaw pointed out that there is no recent example of a country that has entered a spiral of population decline and been able to reverse the trend.

Peterson said that Hungary is the only example of a slight reversal of the population decline, but he also says that the country has not managed to turn the tide completely and is still far below the population replacement level.

To which Shaw responded, “The fascinating thing about Hungary is that it gives people great incentives to have three or four children, but the family structure in Hungary is not changing at all. What is changing… childlessness in Hungary actually seems to be going down. More people seem to be starting families. And then what happens when people start their families…”

Hungary last recorded a positive birth rate in 1974-75, with about 2.3 children per capita. These figures declined rapidly, reaching a low of about 1.2 at the end of the term of the leftist government led by former Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai in 2010. Today, the decline in the birth rate has slowed somewhat, and the birth rate is currently around 1.6, but the number of marriages has reached a record level not seen in four decades, which gives hope that the number of children could also continue to rise.