Primarily as a result of the diversified family support system, the decline in the number of marriages has been successfully halted in Hungary. In the last ten years, Hungary has seen the most dynamic growth in the number of marriages in the EU, according to Eurostat data.
The number of marriages in Hungary has gone through significant changes since the change of regime. At the time of the regime change in 1990, 66,405 couples tied the knot, which fitted the declining trend visible since 1975, when the number was still 103,775.
The downward trend continued with some fluctuation until 2010, when it reached its lowest point with 35,520 weddings. After that, the number of marriages started to increase slowly, until in 2015 and 2016 it jumped from 38,780 in the previous year to 46,137, and then to 51,805. Over the next two years, however, the upward trend was broken and the number fell by a few hundred.
In 2019, however, the number of marriages increased by almost 15,000 to 65,268, and the following year it grew further to 67,301.
Although the exact reasons have not been analysed yet, it says a lot about the possible causes that the Family Protection Action Plan was approved in February 2019, introducing seven new schemes, some elements of which came into force in July 2019, others in January 2020.
During this six-month period, such programs were launched as the ‘baby expecting’ loan, the grandparents’ child-care allowance, the car purchase program for large families, the income tax exemption for mothers with four or more children, the mortgage support for large families, the expansion of the home-creation scheme CSOK, and the nursery development program.
It is safe to say that before 2019, when allowances were only available for creating a family home, there was no real increase in the desire to marry, but the coordinated package of support schemes already had a visible effect.
Therefore, we can say that after the 2008-2009 crisis the decrease in the number of marriages was inevitable, as a future full of uncertainties tends to discourage people from making long-term plans. The transformation of the family subsidy system first resulted in a slow rise, and later a faster surge in the number of marriages, so in the course of barely a decade the number nearly doubled.
In terms of the increase in the number of marriages per one thousand inhabitants between 2010 and 2019 Hungary tops the list in the EU, as the 3.6 at the beginning of the decade rose by 86 percent to 6.7, according to Eurostat data.
If we look at the amount of money spent on family support in proportion of the GDP, we can see that as a result of the expansion of the scheme, it increased from 3.5 percent in 2010 to 4.7 percent by 2017.
In the following two years, although the amount spent on family support increased further, its dynamics fell behind the growth rate of GDP, therefore this indicator decreased to 4.4 percent by 2019.
Overall, there has been a significant increase in the number of marriages over the last ten years, and hopefully this will also have a visible impact on the number of newborn children in the future.