Italy is announcing a new initiative to raise the nation’s flagging birthrate. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government approved a new budget last week, setting aside 1 billion euros (nearly $1.1 billion) in funding to support mothers and families, in an effort to boost the national birthrate.

Some of those measures include increased financial aid to working mothers with two or more children, increased government funding for day care facilities, and extended parental leave. Meloni, herself a working mother, said, “We want to dismantle the narrative that birthrate is a disincentive to work. We want to incentivize those who give birth to children and want to work.”

The prime minister added:

We want to establish that a woman who gives birth to at least two children has already made an important contribution to society, and therefore, the state partly compensates by paying social security contributions.

Italy’s birthrate is currently one of the lowest in Europe. At the end of the 19th century, the Italian birthrate was 5.06 children per woman, but since the 1970s, the birthrate has declined rapidly, dropping from about 2.66 children per woman at the end of the 1960s to 1.24 in 2020, and the population’s average age has increased, with 20% of the population being over the age of 65.

In addition to the measures noted above, Italian Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti implemented a plan earlier this year to adjust tax breaks so taxpayers with children can keep more of their paychecks. He also announced plans to offer income-tax deductions for families: Those with one child may deduct 2,500 euros ($2,641) from their taxes; those with two children may deduct 10,000 euros ($10,567), and those with more than two children may deduct an additional 2,500 euros ($2,641) per child.

When Meloni came to power as prime minister last year with the slogan “Dio, patria, famiglia” (God, fatherland, family), she pledged to make Italian families and the nation’s birthrate priorities for her administration. In order to achieve that goal, Meloni established a Ministry for Family and Birth, telling Italians that it is “time to rediscover the beauty of parenting.”

Meloni has made family—not just birthrates—a chief focus. She opposes abortion, which is currently legal in Italy during the first 90 days of pregnancy, and same-sex marriage, which is not legally recognized in Italy. Under Meloni’s administration, same-sex partners have also been banned from being listed as parents on a child’s birth certificate; the new laws require both biological parents to be named.

Surrogacy, which Meloni called “an abomination that seeks to reduce human life to a bargaining chip,” is also illegal in Italy, and the prime minister has introduced legislation in Parliament to criminalize Italians seeking surrogacies abroad.

According to Meloni, her government is turning to conservative-led Hungary for inspiration in bolstering families. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been working hard since coming to power in 2010 to support families in his country and increase birthrates, implementing a slew of pro-family policies. Last year, for example, Orbán exempted mothers under 30 from paying income tax.

Previously, the conservative prime minister introduced government subsidies for large families and granted tiered tax breaks for mothers. His party also passed a law requiring women seeking an abortion to listen to their unborn baby’s heartbeat before making a decision, although the party has proven unsuccessful in its attempts to completely outlaw abortion.

Speaking in the Hungarian capital of Budapest last month, Meloni declared, “I think a great battle for somebody who is defending humankind and the rights of people is also to defend families, is also to defend nations, is also to defend identity, is also to defend God and all the things that have built our civilization.”

The policies she and her Hungarian counterpart have enacted are clearly designed to uphold that mantra.

Meloni’s new budget also cuts payroll taxes across the nation, netting an estimated 14 million Italians an extra €100 ($106) per month.

Originally published at

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.