Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, has proposed a measure to boost the country’s birth rate. She suggested that state-sponsored apartments should be provided to families once they give birth to a third child. This idea was inspired by a policy that she had implemented in St Petersburg while serving as city governor in the 2000s. Matvienko shared that during her time in St Petersburg, families would be put into the pipeline for a new apartment as soon as a third child was born, and no less than a year later, they would receive the new apartment from the state.
Speaking to fellow senators during a session of the Federation Council, Matvienko emphasized that supporting families with many kids should be a priority for the government. She highlighted the importance of ensuring that a new home would be provided once the third child is born, as it may be the deciding factor for choosing to have more children than initially planned.
Matvienko stressed the seriousness of the current demographic situation in Russia, citing a decline in the total fertility rate. According to her, the population (excluding the new regions) is expected to decrease by over 7.6 million people by January 2046. She also noted that the national birth rate has been on a negative trend, but projections suggest that it will become positive by 2028 and continue to increase up to 2045. Rosstat, the Russian national statistics agency, estimated that the birth rate would reach 10.3 births per 1,000 people by 2045, compared to 8.5 in 2023, corresponding to 1.663 babies born per woman during a lifetime.
Most Russians express a desire to have two children, as per Rosstat data, with a single-child family being the second most popular option. In light of these statistics, Matvienko’s proposal for state-sponsored apartments for families with three children aims to provide an additional incentive for couples to consider having more children.
Expanding the program on a national level could involve introducing discounts and budget co-payments on mortgages for wealthier parents, thus addressing housing concerns for larger families across the country. By ensuring that families with many children have stable housing, the government can contribute to creating a supportive environment for raising children and potentially encourage an increase in the birth rate.
In conclusion, Valentina Matvienko’s proposal reflects a proactive approach to addressing the demographic challenges faced by Russia. Providing state-sponsored apartments to families with three children offers a tangible benefit that may influence family planning decisions. If implemented effectively, this measure could contribute to a much-needed increase in the country’s birth rate, aligning with the government’s goal of supporting families and ensuring sustainable population growth.