Previously on The Billfold
Ten thousand Euros for every baby. That’s the reward the Finnish town of Lestijärvi promised local parents in 2012 for every new child born. Now, two years on, it seems that the plan, due to last until 2016, has been working well. Too well in fact. Such has been the spike in births that Lestijärvi is now reporting a new problem: it’s run out of family-sized housing.
There is a baby boom in the tiny town of Lestijärvi, Finland (population 850) and with “Turns Out Paying People Thousands of Dollars to Have a Baby Works Pretty Well” Feargus O’Sullivan is on it.
New parents in Lestijärvi (pronounced “give me moneyyyyy”) are cranking ‘em out at 14x the rate they did before the incentive went underway. To be fair, one baby was born there in 2012, and 14 babies were born post-incentive in 2013. Unfortunately you do not get the $10K in a lump sum (*puts condom back on*), rather Lestijärvians receive $1,000/year for the first 10 years of their kid’s life, which, it should be noted, is not all that crazy of a notion in Finland, home to the famous BABY BOX:
The practice of doling out baby cash and gifts – sometimes referred to as haikararahaksi or “stork money” – is actually a nationwide practice that all Finnish parents benefit from in some form. Around 70 municipalities pay €500 or more for each new child born, typically in areas away from the major Finnish cities whose jobs and facilities lure families without financial incentive. Lestijärvi’s closest rival in generosity offers €3,000. Some municipalities give more token gifts instead, such as flowers, books, clocks, apple tree seedlings or – probably the lamest gift in the Finnish stork money arsenal – a city logo to stick on the baby’s bodysuit. All this comes on top of government gifts that provide most of the basic kit new parents need for their babies’ first months.