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A population policy (104-2) is a series of measures taken by public authorities to influence the trend of population, or principles offered as a basis for such measures. A distinction is made between expansionist1 policies, sometimes also called populationist1 which are designed to increase the population, to accelerate its rate of growth or to check actual or incipient population decline or depopulation2, and restrictionist3 policies for the purpose of checking population growth or reducing the rate of increase. Among the former, pro-natalist4 policies, which attempt to increase the birth rate (630-1), are particularly important. In contrast to pro-natalist policies, there are anti-natalist5 policies designed to reduce the frequency of births.
In many countries allowances1,benefits1 or grants2 are given to the parents of children. In general an allowance is a sum of money which is paid periodically, whereas a grant is paid on a single occasion only. Family allowance3 or children’s allowance3 denotes a sum of money paid regularly to parents with a specified number of children. In many fiscal systems, tax rebates4 are granted in respect of dependent children. Other monetary benefits paid in some countries include maternity grants5 or birth grants5, which are paid on the birth of a child, pre-natal allowances6paid to expectant mothers during pregnancy, and on occasions marriage loans7, which are granted to newly-married couples in order to assist them in setting up a household (110-3).
Many other public measures, such as housing programmes or measures in the field of public health1 may have an impact on demographic phenomena. The provision of services for pregnant women, such as ante-natal clinics2, and for parturient (cf. 603-4*) women may help in reducing late foetal, infant and maternal mortality (cf. para. 410, 424-4). Services which are primarily designed to help the mother are called maternity services3; those meant to assist the young child are infant welfare services4 or child welfare services4.
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