Demographic crisis in Poland is a topic that is causing increasing concern in society. Recent data on the number of births is alarming – for the first time in a long time, the number of newborn babies has dropped below 300,000 per year.
This is not only a record low natural increase, but also an alarm signal for our society. But is there anything we can do about it? Are there any solutions that can reverse this trend?
Causes and effects of the decline in the number of births
According to a report published by the Central Statistical Office (GUS), in April 2023, the number of births dropped below 300,000 per year, reaching the lowest level since World War II. Compared to previous years, this trend is disturbing and requires urgent action. Looking at demographic data, we notice that the decline in the number of births is a long-term phenomenon. Over the past few decades, we have observed a systematic decrease in the fertility rate, which is the number of children born to a woman of reproductive age. In 2022, this rate was only 1.3 children per woman, which is below the replacement level (which is around 2.1 children per woman).
The consequences of this are far-reaching. A low natural increase, which is the difference between the number of births and the number of deaths, leads to an aging society and demographic imbalance. A smaller number of births also means fewer people in the working age, which has a negative impact on economic development and the stability of the pension system. However, fixing this situation is a very complex matter and goes beyond financial support.
Family policy and flexible forms of employment
To counter the demographic crisis, it is necessary to introduce an effective family policy. The government has been focusing on financial support programs for families for some time, making having children more accessible and economically feasible. However, as we can see, this is not enough. Reforming our professional lives to a certain extent can help. Flexible forms of employment, such as remote work or flexible working hours, can allow parents to balance their professional and family lives. This can be crucial for individuals who want to achieve professional success while not giving up their roles as parents.
Investing in infrastructure that supports parenthood is also extremely important. The lack of adequate nurseries and kindergartens makes it difficult for parents to return to work after having a child. Therefore, it is crucial to create appropriate childcare facilities and develop educational infrastructure. Additionally, social education is necessary. This is perhaps the element that requires the most intervention in Poland. Citizens need to increase their social awareness of the benefits of having children and the role of the family in society. Information campaigns, seminars, and workshops can help change perceptions of parenthood and influence attitudes and behaviors.
Is the problem widespread?
The current demographic crisis in Poland is a challenge that requires an interdisciplinary approach and coordinated actions. Implementing an effective family policy, flexible forms of employment, investing in infrastructure that supports parenthood, and social education are crucial for reversing the current trend. However, this requires collaboration between different spheres of society – families, businesses, government authorities, and civil society. Only through a comprehensive approach and long-term strategies can we create a promising future for Polish society and counter the demographic crisis.