We’ve all heard the Biblical commandment to “to go forth and multiply.” However, the Polish government is taking that commandment one step further by encouraging its citizens between the ages of 18-45 to “go forth and multiply like rabbits” As part of a new campaign to combat its falling birthrate.
In fact, the Health Ministry has even put out a short video on YouTube featuring a bunch of bunnies munching on lettuce and carrots while a rabbit “narrator” tells viewers “If you ever want to be a parent, follow the example of rabbits.” The bunny then goes on to reveals the secret of their big families lies in following a lifestyle of healthy diets, exercise, and little stress.
Meanwhile the brief appearance of a human couple enjoying a romantic picnic hints, “a little romance might help, while the fact that their wine glasses are shown upside down is meant to suggest “an anti-alcohol message.”
The Health Ministry said in a statement to The Associated Press that it chose to use the rabbits to raise public awareness in a manner that “did not offend anyone and was not vulgar.”
Although this mostly Catholic country is considered to be the 9th most populous country in Europe, as well as 33rd most populous in the world (with slightly more than 38.5 million residents) its growth has become virtually stagnant with a reported birthrate of only 1.32 children per women reported in 2015, slightly below fertility rates in Greece, Spain, Cyprus, and Italy. In fact, it was recently reported that the median age in Poland is currently 38.2, but could rise to 51 within the next 30 years if the current trend does not reverse itself.
The latest figures show the number of births from January-August 2017 to be 257,000 while there were 272,800 deaths during the same period. Average life expectancy is somewhere between 70-73 for men and 78-80 for women. Further loss of its people is attributed to economic hardship prompting its citizens to emigrate to “greener pastures.”
Only Portugal’s is lower. In fact, projections made by the National Statistics Institute suggests Portugal’s population could nosedive from10.5 million to 6.3 million by 2060, with less than 11% of the people there expected to be under 15-years of age by mid-century .if its birthrate does not improve dramatically.
While they may not be quite as extreme, other nations throughout Europe are also facing similar crises, including the EU’s largest nation (population-wise) Germany, where it is now predicted that the percentage of people of working age in the country (ages 20-65) would “plunge from 61% to 54% by 2030,” as per Henning Voepel, director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics.