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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 expansionist 1 policies, sometimes also called populationist 1 which are designed to increase the population, to accelerate its rate of growth or to check actual or incipient population decline or depopulation 2, and restrictionist 3 policies for the purpose of checking population growth or reducing the rate of increase. Among the former, pro-natalist 4 policies, which attempt to increase the birth rate (630-1), are particularly important. In contrast to pro-natalist policies, there are anti-natalist 5 policies designed to reduce the frequency of births.
In many countries allowances 1,benefits 1 or grants 2 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 allowance 3 or children’s allowance 3 denotes a sum of money paid regularly to parents with a specified number of children. In many fiscal systems, tax rebates 4 are granted in respect of dependent children. Other monetary benefits paid in some countries include maternity grants 5 or birth grants 5, which are paid on the birth of a child, pre-natal allowances 6paid to expectant mothers during pregnancy, and on occasions marriage loans 7, 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 health 1 may have an impact on demographic phenomena. The provision of services for pregnant women, such as ante-natal clinics 2, 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 services 3; those meant to assist the young child are infant welfare services 4 or child welfare services 4.
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