Since 2013, every new-born baby in Lestijärvi, one of the smallest municipalities in Finland, has been ‘worth’ €10,000.
That’s when Lestijärvi’s administrators decided to fight back against the declining birth rate and shrinking population in the village, in which only one child had been born the previous year. The municipality introduced an incentive called the ‘baby bonus’: any resident who gave birth would be entitled to €10,000, paid over 10 years.
It’s taken off: nearly 60 children have since been born in the municipality. Compared to the prior seven years in which only 38 children were born, the new babies are a big boost to this village of fewer than 800 people.
Baby bonus recipients Jukka-Pekka Tuikka, 50, and his wife Janika, 48, work as entrepreneurs in the agricultural industry. Their second daughter, Janette, was born in 2013, just in time to earn herself a playful nickname: ‘ten-thousand-euro girl’.
“We had been planning a second child for some time and were getting older,” Tuikka explains, “so I can’t say that money really influenced our decision to have a baby.” Still, Tuikka considers the incentive an important measure which shows that local leaders are interested in offering a helping hand to families. Tuikka has saved most of the €6,000 his family has received so far, and plans to use it in a way that benefits them all in the future.