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Cyprus birth rate way too low, committee hears

childbirth

With women giving birth to 1.4 children, Cyprus falls way below the level of fertility needed to replace the population, which stands at 2.1, the House ad hoc demographics committee heard on Tuesday.

Head of the committee, Elam MP Linos Papayiannis highlighted the persistently low birth rate in Cyprus despite what he referred to as “appropriate measures taken by the welfare ministry.”

He claimed that the birth rate in the native population was even lower, at 1.2 births.

Additionally, he cited data provided to the committee by the Institute of Demographic and Immigration Policy, indicating that in public lyceums 84 per cent of students are Cypriot nationals, while 16 per cent are third-country or EU nationals.

In terms of gymnasiums, the percentage of Cypriot students stands at 81 per cent.

In primary schools, 21 per cent of children have two foreign parents, as do 25 per cent in pre-schools, Papayiannis said.

“As the age of children decreases, the number of foreign children in school and pre-school classes increases significantly, clearly due to recent trends,” Papayiannis said, referring to the increased migratory flow to Cyprus in the past years.

He mentioned that, in recent days, nearly 1,000 new arrivals were recorded from Lebanon, although they were mostly Syrian.

Committee member and Disy MP Prodromos Alambritis said the low birth rate is “alarming”, adding that the number of large families receiving benefits was around 4,300 in 2020, but by 2023 it had dropped to 3,600.

He stressed the need to support families, reconcile family life with work, and provide the necessary support for new families to proceed with having children.

He noted that Disy has proposed measures in this direction, concerning the taxation of families based on the number of members, referring to the party’s proposal for the taxation of family income and the expansion of income criteria for the child allowance, especially for families with three or more children.

Additionally, he proposed that the government support families with a one-time payment for a third, fourth, or more children.

Finally, he called on the education ministry to expand the optional full-day school to all primary or kindergarten schools that have requested it.

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