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France's Pro-Natalist Policies

National pronatalist policies aim to increase the number of babies born in a country. France has had pronatalist policies in place since 1939.

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Early Policies

The first political policy aimed at increasing the number of births in France was the Code de la Famille, passed in 1939. It banned the sale of contraceptives, provided subsidised holidays and offered cash incentives to mothers to stay at home with their children.

Background

France needs pronatalist policies today because it has an ageing population, which will cause problems in future. Encouraging more births now will increase the number of people of working age in the future, whose wages will support the economy.

Incentives

As of 2008, incentives include up to 40 weeks of nearly full-pay maternity leave for mothers having a third child, preferential treatment in the allocation of government housing, heavily subsidised childcare and tax benefits until a family's youngest child reaches the age of 18.

Results

Although it is very difficult to isolate and measure the effects of any specific policy, France's fertility rate was the second highest in Europe in 2006 at 1.9 children per woman. These figures suggest that the country's pronatalist policies may be having some effect.

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About the Author

Rita Kennedy is a writer and researcher based in the United Kingdom. She began writing in 2002 and her work has appeared in several academic journals including "Memory Studies," the "Journal of Historical Geography" and the "Local Historian." She holds a Ph.D. in history and an honours degree in geography from the University of Ulster.

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