Cuba considers incentives as birth rate declines

Cuba

The Cuban government has announced that it is considering financial and other incentives to encourage women to have more children. The birth rate in Cuba is so low that by next year the number of working age people on the island will start to shrink.

CCTV America’s Michael Voss reported this story from Havana.

Cuba considers incentives as birth rate declines

Cuba considers incentives as birth rate declines

The Cuban government has announced that it is considering financial and other incentives to encourage women to have more children. The birth rate in Cuba is so low that by next year the number of working age people on the island will start to shrink.

With some of the best child care support in Latin America, almost everyone has access to affordable day care centers, yet many parents chose to have just one child. The majority of Cuban women work. For Aracelys Bedevia, life is a constant rush, combing both home and a career.
“In my case, I dedicated myself to my studies, so I delayed having children. I just prioritized my degrees and work,” working mother Aracelys Bedevia said. “Now, I feel I’m past the age of having another child.”

It has reached the point where there are one hundred thousand fewer people in Cuba than a decade ago, and emigration only accounts for part of that drop.

“We have programs of family planning since 1964 that we have been using and the abortion which is free and universal and we have had access to it since 1962,” sociologist Marta Nunez said. “And also, there is a housing problem. The housing problem is really important because once a new couple decides to get married they don’t have a place of their own to live. So, this makes it difficult to have a child.”

Cuba’s aging population has life expectancies in line with the rest of the developed world. More than 18 percent of the population is over 60 years old. By 2045, it is expected to rise by 35 percent.

In some ways, Cuba is a victim of its own success. With universal health care, people are living longer. This is an aging population with not enough young people coming through to support them.

The government has already expanded maternity and in some cases paternity leave to a full year with pay. It is now considering what further incentives to offer families to have more children.