President Vladimir Putin of Russia recently
ordered parliament to more than double monthly child support payments to 1,500 rubles (about $55) and added that women who choose to have a second baby will receive 250,000 rubles ($9,200), a staggering sum in a country where average monthly incomes hover close to $330.
This action is being taken in the midst of a significant demographic transition in Russia similar to what we`ve seen in the West.
Some say that Russia must open its doors to immigrants, as many Western countries have done. But Putin insists that only ethnic Russians - about 25 million remain stranded in former Soviet countries - will be eligible for easy entry. Polls show large majorities remain hostile to the idea of mass immigration of non-Slavs.
Now, I suspect Russia will need to be significantly more generous in its payments to families to make a real difference(and will need to persist in these policies for some time). If it continues in this trend we may see a real test case comparing different solutions to demographic changes. What will it mean if conditions in the US continue to deteriorate for American workers(as they have the last 30 years)—and another large country with fewer resources manages to produce substantial improvements for its people?