Mar 05, 2020

State Secretary: Increase in number of marriages are cause for optimism

Katalin Novák has pointed out that all of the demographic indexes in Hungary changed for the better in 2019.

Katalin Novák, the state secretary for family and youth affairs, has said an increase in the number of marriages are cause for optimism.

According to the Polish Press Agency, Novák pointed out that all of the demographic indexes in Hungary changed for the better in 2019; the number of marriages (65,300) has not been as high in the past 30 years and is almost double the number from 2010. At the same time, the number of divorces dropped by 30 percent.

Referring to December 2019 data which showed that the number of births in that period grew by 8.2 percent compared to December 2018, the state secretary said the birth rate has also stabilized on a higher level. “We are being optimistic,” she said.

According to data published by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH), Hungary’s population continues to decline. In 2019, 40,400 fewer children were born than those who died, and the number is 607 less than in 2018. The birth rate index was 1.46, the same as in 2018 and higher than in 2011 (1.23).

Novák warned that although the population decrease is slowing down, it will take decades for it to stop. She said that it depends on the citizens who are having children now, and their decisions on whether to have children. “If we hadn’t done anything and the readiness to have descendants would remain as it was, there’d be 90,000 fewer children than in 2011 and the population would’ve dropped to about 7 million by 2060,” she explained. KSH estimated that the Hungarian population was 9.77 million by the end of 2019.

Novák believed that the most efficient pro-family policies introduced by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government were the family housing relief, which is a one-time, non-repayable financial support to purchase, build or expand a house.

The other policy she listed was the family tax relief which reduces the tax base depending on the number of children. “I believe that we will never be able to say, that there is nothing that the state could do to help. Until those wanting to have more children than are being born, we cannot rest and we will surely have something to do,” Novák declared.

Hungary currently spends EUR 6.8 billion on its pro-family policies, which amounts to 4.6 percent of its GDP. Novak emphasized that this sum was not a spend but rather, “an investment.” The minister emphasized that if not for the pro-family policies of the Hungarian government, the situation would be much worse.

Novák was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland on February 19, 2020 for her service in developing Polish-Hungarian cooperation.