ROME, October 15, 2003 ( – The right-of-centre Italian Government of Silvio Berlusconi is hoping to reverse Italy’s status as the country with the lowest birth rate and fastest-aging population in Europe. To get things rolling, his government has announced a cash bonus for the birth of a second child.  “It is possible that it [will work],” says Maura Mitziti of the national institute of population research. “Measures like these have been used in Sweden, and we do see a peak of fertility when the measure is first implemented. But then we see that the attitudes come back to normal levels because it is not just about money.”  Parents complain of the complications of organizing their day around school hours and other inconveniences incompatible with an affluent lifestyle with both parents working. Asked why she decided to have only one child, one woman said: “People prefer to just have one so they can give the child everything—the best schools, the best clothes, the best everything” (except siblings).  For more details see:


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