Demography in Chile: Child Bribe
In an issue of “The Economist” there is a short article about Chile’s attempt to raise the birth rate. In 1990 the fertility rate was 2.6 children per woman and as of 2011 the rate dropped to 1.8. This is the lowest rate in South America along with Brazil. In efforts to rectify the situation, the Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera is urging his female constituents to have more children. He is even offering them money to do so. President Piñera planned on sending a bill to Congress that will reward mothers $200 for birthing a third child, $300 for a fourth child and $400 for any further children. An excerpt from the article stated “It was designed, it’s critics said, to reward wealthy, conservatives families, renowned for their prodigious fecundity.”
Despite the argument of women’s marital stays and wealth, I must echo the sentiments of the critics. There are better ways to encourage women to have more children. It must begin with better health care and child care. This is something that should be looked at with a long term scope. The $200 for a third child does not begin to cover the expenses the mother requires to raise the three children she has. This incentive does not seem appealing because it does not provide the child with health care benefits of any sorts.
Another concern I have is that of the fathers. This puts the father in a tough predicament. The Chilean men want to know if they will be paid to father these children. If the mothers are being paid regardless of marital status then this should apply to the men. Whether they are father 3 children with three different women or their one wife. The fathers will pressured to provide for these children with no assistance. This could produce a unexpected reaction if not addressed.