TALLINN - In the past two years, Estonia has registered a significant rise in the number of two-child families who have seen the arrival of a third child, Postimees reported citing data from Statistics Estonia.
"'If we look at the proportion of babies born into a family as the third child, it has been rising over the whole decade and in the last two years in particular," Alis Tammur, senior analyst at Statistics Estonia, told Postimees.
Compared with the period from two to four years ago, over 300 babies or one-thenth more were born into families as third children last year alone.
Asked about the reasons for the rise, the senior research analyst said that the increase can not be attributed to a single reason and it rather has taken place as a result of several factors, including families' improved feeling of security about their own welfare.
"Since the trend towards the birth of a third child was created already a few years ago, it is difficult to say whether it can be ascribed mainly to the growing economy, which increased third-child births also during the previous period of economic growth, or the increase in family allowances and women promptly reacting to it played a role in it as well," Tammur said.
The child allowance for families with three or more children more than doubled from July 1 last year, with a family with three children starting to get 500 euros a month instead of 200 euros a month earlier. Since the 300-euro hike was valid only during six months last year, it alone could not have served as the reason for approximately a hundred families adding a third baby to the family in 2017. At the same time, the forthcoming increase was announced at least six months before it took effect.
Tammur said that even though the decision to have children largely depends on the personal values and possibilities of two individuals, the message that society values women also for the time dedicated to children reaching women increases their feeling of security to have as many children as they wish.
"Women give birth not for allowances and money, but thanks to them," the senior research analyst said.