The population of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary is at its lowest figure in over half a century. Hungary’s current population sits at around 9.75 million. This is a figure which has decreased since the 1980s when the population of Hungary was around 10.75 million. If trends continue as they are, there will be fewer than 8 million people living in Hungary by 2050. This loss of almost 2 million inhabitants will be almost double the loss of population that Hungary experienced during World War 2.
The current fertility rate of Hungary sits at around 1.5. This figure is way below the required figure of 2.1 which is needed for a population to stay the same size. If you exclude Hungary’s Roma population, this figure drops to 0.8; a figure even lower than Singapore’s fertility rate of 0.82 (the lowest fertility rate in the world).
Depopulation threatens the future of rural Hungary in particular
These trends are nothing new in Europe. Native populations and fertility rates are dropping across the continent. The difference between Hungary (and perhaps Central Europe as a whole) and the rest of Europe, is, as we all know, immigration. As native populations drop in countries like the UK, France, Germany and Sweden, immigration (and the high fertility rates of Europe’s new inhabitants) is causing their overall populations to grow.
Declining populations are certainly an issue. In Japan for example (a country which has refused over 99% of refugee applications), houses are empty, restaurants are closing, and by 2040, many of the country’s smaller cities are predicted to lose between one third and one half of their population.
It seems, from looking at the above examples of Europe and Japan, that our two choices are to either bring new people to the country and, in the style of The Great Replacement, water down (and eventually lose) our native population, culture, language and traditions, or we can do nothing, and like Japan, our population will begin to decline.
Many of us (myself included) are guilty of complaining about the demographic results of mass open-door immigration. We share the stats, we retweet the memes and we contribute to the information war, but how often do we talk about solutions? If immigration isn’t an option we’re willing to consider to halt our declining populations, then what can we do instead?
This question brings us back to Hungary. In amongst the Mays, the Macrons, the Merkels and the Löfvens, Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, is once again proving to be a treasure in the ruins with his willingness to tackle an issue that the majority of our leaders refuse to even discuss.
According to Orbán:
“There are two distinct views in Europe today to consider. One of these is held by those who want to address Europe’s demographic problems through immigration. And there is another view, held by Central Europe – and, within it, Hungary. Our view is that we must solve our demographic problems by relying on our own resources and mobilising our own reserves, and – let us acknowledge it – by renewing ourselves spiritually.”
At this year’s 28th Summer University and Student Camp in Baile Tusnad, he added:
“The question of the upcoming decades is whether Europe will continue to belong to Europeans, whether Hungary will remain the country of Hungarians, whether Germany will remain the country of Germans, whether France will remain the country of the French and whether Italy will remain the country of Italians.”
Orbán hasn’t exactly been shy about his opposition to mass immigration. He recently described it as being like when a castaway drinks sea water: “That too is water, but the problem gets worse.” He is also one of the few mainstream politicians who openly talks about EU leaders and Hungarian-American billionaire, George Soros, seeking a “new, mixed, Muslimized Europe.” But what is Orbán’s opposing solution? And what exactly does he mean when he says that we should aim to “renew ourselves spiritually”?
In theory, this is simple. Hungary needs to increase her fertility rate of 1.5 to 2.1. This is a goal which Orbán has set out to achieve by the year 2030. Highlighting financial concern as the primary reason why many couples struggle to have children, Orbán has put forward the following measures:
- Any female who owes student debt will have her outstanding balance cut by 50% if she has two children. If she has three or more children, her debt will be wiped completely.
- Parents who give birth to three children will have their mortgage balance lowered by 1 million Hungarian Forints (just over £3000 pounds). Any additional child after the third will result in a further mortgage deduction of 1 million Hungarian Forints.
- Parents with at least two children will receive new tax benefits.
- The Hungarian Government will build and fund new nurseries and day care programmes.
- The Hungarian Government will establish a research institute with will study demographics and look at ways to organically increase the country’s population.
Orbán (who has five children himself) added:
“Where there is space for two children, there is space for three, as well as for a fourth. The braver ones can accommodate five as well. The government has come to the simple truth that a little more support means a few more kids, while greater support means a greater number of children.”
Changes may occur and additional measures are likely to be added, but what we have here is a European leader who refuses to forfeit his country to Africa or Islam and is instead actively coming up with suggestions to keep Hungary Hungarian.
Without a doubt, Orbán has a lot on his plate. Hungary’s next parliamentary election takes place in spring, but on top of this, Orbán’s demographic measures will be under immense scrutiny. Of course, our best-case-scenario is that Orbán’s plans will work and Hungary’s native population will begin to increase. It is true that only time will tell. Either way, over the course of the next decade, Orbán’s plans will be something that Europeans and European leaders will certainly learn from.