A small town in Finland with a dwindling population came up with a novel idea to get its residents having babies: pay them to do so.
There's a long list of reasons why a person might want to have a baby and start a family. They've reached the age at which they always wanted to do so, met the partner they want to spend the rest of their lives with, or simply just wake up one day and feel as if the time is right.
Chances are if and when you have kids, it won't be because someone is offering you a whopping €10,000 ($11,115) to do so. Don't worry, it's not as morally ambiguous as it sounds. It's a program that has been running in the small Finnish town of Lestijärvi reports BBC. If one of Lestijärvi's residents has a baby, they're entitled to €1000 per year for the next ten years.
The initiative was introduced seven years ago and with good reason. In 2012, Lestijärvi authorities realized that only one baby was born in their town during a whole calendar year. With numbers as low as that, sooner or later, their beloved town would become so sparsely populated that it might not even be considered a town any longer. Plus, a more pressing issue was whether the town would need a school anymore.
Well, thanks to Lestijärvi's €10,000 promise, there is very much still a need for a local school. That one baby born in 2012, Kerttu, is now in her first year of school and shares her class with just two other children. However, the pre-school year that will come next is currently made up of a class of 12 children. Clearly, the initiative has worked.
In fact, in the seven years since it was introduced, 60 families have had children and taken advantage of it. There is a catch, but it's something that should really be a given. Families who claim the grant cannot leave Lestijärvi if they want the money to continue coming in. That's presumably why they don't get the €10,000 all in one go. If you leave, the money stops, and it doesn't start back up should you return.