Hungary’s family policy widely successful

Hungary’s family policy widely successful

The family policy implemented in Hungary is one of the most successful ones in Europe and its secret lies in its purpose: ensuring that the marrying, starting a family and having children does not mean any financial or social disadvantage - it was explained by Balázs Molnár, vice president of the Maria Kopp Institute of Demography and Family, in the most recent edition of the Transatlantic Dialogues organized, on June 18, by the Political Network for Values ​​(PNfV).

The Transatlantic Dialogues are a virtual colloquium organized monthly by PNfV for the exchange of ideas, good practices, analysis and experiences between political representatives and decision makers from countries in Europe, America and Africa.

On this occasion, Molnár, who is a former Deputy Secretary of State for European Affairs of the Prime Minister’s Office, detailed the impact and the results of a decade of family policy that generated a favourable, family-friendly environment in his country: growth in the number of marriages, the fall of the numbers of divorces, more births, fewer abortions, more families with their own homes, appreciation of motherhood and the role of grandparents and younger people with the desire to form a family.

The figures are overwhelming: the fertility rate increased from 1.25 in 2010 to 1.55 in 2020, which is the highest value since 1996; the number of live births increased by 2.1% and abortion fell by almost half.

While between 2002 and 2010 during the period of leftist governments, the number of marriages decreased by 23%, since 2010 it has increased by 89.5% and the number of divorces has decreased by 57%. According to the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, the majority of young people, 90%, want to have children, 43% at least two, and 18% three or more. And all these data have not had a negative impact on female employment, which raised from 54.6% in 2010 to 67% in 2020.

In fact, despite covid, in 2020, the total employment rate reached 75%, above the average of the European Union (EU) and the unemployment rate was 4.2%, the sixth lowest figure of the continent. This is a favourable evolution of the employment rates. The figures show that having a healthy economy and prioritizing the family as the centre of governmental efforts are not conflicting aspects, on the contrary.

Balázs Molnár stressed out that, unlike other countries, Hungary did not focus its family policy on giving money to have children, but instead, to set up a wide system of support so that families “do not live on their children, but for their children.”

Subsidies for young marriages, state-backed home loans and mortgage credit decline with the arrival of children, and the progressive reduction of income tax progresses by the number of children (many families in the country with 3 or more children do not pay any personal income tax).

There is also support for the purchase of vehicles for large families, financial support for mothers who take care of their young children, a wide network of nurseries for those who are re-joining the labour market, a modality where grandparents can carry out the work of caring for children, paid grandchildren and tax reduction for companies that hire mothers, among others. All aimed at forming a favourable social environment for families and guaranteeing a predictable horizon for parents. In Europe, the Hungarian government spends the most on families, representing almost 5% of GDP.

Angela Gandra, Brazil’s National Family Secretary, and 25 other political representatives, as well as almost a hundred citizen leaders from 22 countries on both sides of America and Europe, participated in the event. The countries represented included: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, United States and Uruguay.