In 2012, Lestijärvi realised it had a baby problem. The small, rural village in Finland had seen only one baby born the previous year, and understood that its population was threatened by its declining – and almost non-existent – birth rate.
“We’d always paid attention to how many babies would be born the following year,” says Paula Jokela, a teacher in the village. “So when we noticed there was really only one baby being born in Lestijärvi, it woke everyone up.”
As the second-smallest municipality in mainland Finland, Lestijärvi decided to implement a radical measure to boost its dwindling population: pay for its citizens to have babies. The value? €10,000 per baby, paid over 10 years. Seven years on, what’s been the effect?