《中英對照讀新聞》Babies wanted: Nordic countries crying for kids/需要小孩:北歐國家疾呼添丁弄瓦

"Norway needs more children! I don’t think I need to tell anyone how this is done," Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg said cheekily, but she was raising a real concern.

「挪威需要更多小孩!我想我不用告訴所有人該怎麼做吧?」儘管挪威總理索柏格語帶戲謔,卻點出嚴重的問題。

The Nordic countries were long a bastion of strong fertility rates on an Old Continent that is rapidly getting older. But they are now experiencing a decline that threatens their welfare model, which is funded by taxpayers.

在快速高齡化的「舊大陸」(歐洲),北歐國家向來是高生育率的堡壘,但如今也面臨生育率下滑的問題,對透過全民納稅來維繫的社會福利制度構成威脅。

In Norway, Finland and Iceland, birth rates dropped to historic lows in 2017, with 1.49 to 1.71 children born per woman. Just a few years earlier, their birth rates hovered close to the 2.1 level required for their populations to remain stable.

在挪威、芬蘭及冰島,生育率在2017年降至歷史新低,平均每位女性生育1.49至1.71名兒女。再早幾年,這三國的生育率還徘徊在接近維持人口穩定所需的2.1人。

The Nordic region boasts a wealth of family-friendly initiatives, such as flexible working hours, a vast network of affordable daycares and generous parental leave systems.

北歐地區以擁有充裕的家庭友善計畫而自豪,像是彈性工時、範圍廣泛且索價低廉的日間照護網絡,以及慷慨的育嬰假機制。

When all that is still not enough to encourage people to have more children, immigration can be a lifeline - or a threat, depending on the point of view.(AFP)

要是這些仍不足以鼓勵民眾多多生養小孩,移民可以是一線生機,但也可能是威脅,端看以什麼觀點視之。(法新社)

英倫翻譯社 轉自https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1285655

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