Vladimir Putin to Russia: our future depends on how large our population will be
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his annual State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly that the country's future depends on how large its population will be.
According to him, here are almost 147 million people in Russia today, however, the country has entered a difficult demographic period. "We have been able to achieve positive results in demography and even achieve a natural population growth. However, families are now started by the small generations of the 1990s, the number of births is falling again," the president said.
Putin noted that, according to preliminary estimates, the total fertility rate stood at 1.5 in 2019. "This is not enough for our country," he stressed.
According to Putin, the birth rate in the 1990s in Russia was worse than that in the Second World War times, families rarely had two children.
"To compare, in 1943 during World War 2 was 1.3, but it was even worse in the 1990s - in 1999 it dropped to 1.16. It is worse than in the Second World War times. Families with two children were rare then, people were even sometimes forced to put off having children," the Russian leader noted.
Putin said that low incomes of most households with children directly threatens Russia’s demographic future. "Low incomes of most households, families is the most pressing issue, which directly threatens our demographic future. According to various estimates, households with children account for around 70-80% of families with low incomes," the head of state stressed.
The Russian head of state proposed to provide monthly payments for children aged 3-7 starting on January 1, 2020. According to the President, these payments will be received by families whose incomes do not exceed one living wage per person, and the procedure for receiving these funds will be as simple as possible.
"When the child turns three, the payments are terminated, so the family can immediately land in a difficult financial situation. That is what actually happens, and it cannot be allowed. Due to this, I propose to provide monthly payments for children between the ages of three and seven. To receive these payments, it will be enough to simply apply and indicate your legal, official income," he said.
The maternity capital program will be extended until the end of 2026 at the least and the payment amount will grow to 616,617 rubles, according to the President.
"This program is currently designed for the period until December 31, 2021," the head of state noted. "We will extend it until December 31, 2026 at the least," Putin said.
"A family will be entitled to the maternity capital in its current amount as early as when the first child will be born. I suggest increasing the maternity capital by 150,000 rubles," he specified. "Hence, the maternity capital for a family with two children will total 616,617 rubles," the Russian leader added.
The maternity capital amount will be adjusted upward annually, he said. If there is a child in a family, "then the maternity capital shall be provided in a new, increased amount after birth of the second one," Putin stressed.