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Debate over demographic trends

February 4th, 2023

Commenting on last year’s birth statistics, a conservative commentator thinks that the government’s policy package to try to encourage larger families is mistaken. A pro-government columnist suggests that the drop in the birth rate can be explained by the war in Ukraine, and remains firmly convinced that the long-term demographic trend is positive. 

In Magyar Hang, János Reichert attributes the decline in the birth rate in 2022 to what he believes is the government’s mistaken family policy. The conservative columnist, who is critical of the government, cites the latest data from the Central Statistical Office to point out that the number of live births sank by 5 per cent in 2022, year on year. According to Reichert’s calculations, the overall data includes Hungarian babies born abroad to non-resident citizens. Without these, the Hungarian birth rate would have declined even more significantly, Reichert contends.

In Magyar Nemzet, Balázs Ágoston finds the longer term demographic trends promising, nonetheless. The pro-government columnist blames last year’s decline in the birth rate on what he bitterly calls “the US-Russian war in Ukraine and the EU collective-farm’s anti-European policies”.  Despite all this, the Hungarian government has reversed the overall trend and since 2011, the birth rate has improved, he insists. The mortality rate and the number of suicides and abortions are also falling slowly, he continues. Ágoston is confident that improving demographic trends and the reaffirmation of Hungarian identity will help Hungarians survive as a nation.

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