On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to boost his country’s birth rate over the coming decades, saying the demographic situation in Russia is very difficult.
Putin’s proposal would include allowances to first-time mothers, payments for low-income families and the creation of more places in nurseries. The costs are projected to be over $6.5 billion each year.
Putin’s announcement comes at a time when Russia hasn’t seen significant population growth in decades. After the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, population in the country radically decreased amidst harsh economic and social conditions, and Russia has struggled to build their population back up after several unsuccessful plans to increase birth rate.
With other Asian countries like China and India quickly growing their populations and subsequent labor forces, Russia’s economy could continue falling behind in the new decade.