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How the USSR introduced a childlessness tax and how it ended

Yulia PoteriankoNews
Childless couples in the USSR tried to financially encourage the birth of children. Source: Created with the help of AI

At the end of May, Serhiy Hryvko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament from the Servant of the People party, came up with an initiative to introduce a so-called childlessness tax in our country. Even if we do not take into account the fact that such an initiative was strongly opposed in society, the failure of such a decision can be confirmed by historical examples, in particular the experience of the USSR.

According to the BBC, Joseph Stalin initiated the introduction of the tax in 1941. After the outbreak of the German-Soviet war, it became clear that there would be many victims and that they would need to be compensated. With the help of the surtax, the government tried to convince citizens to have children and promised to use the money collected from the childless to support orphans in orphanages. The war did deprive parents of a huge number of children.

The tax was imposed on childless men aged 25 to 50 and childless married women aged 20 to 45. They had to give 6% of their income to the state. However, there were exceptions to this rule. Heroes of the USSR, military personnel awarded three degrees of the Order of Glory, people who could not have children due to health reasons, and students under 25 were exempt from the tax. Over time, monks were added to the list. In addition, citizens whose children were killed or disappeared in the war were exempt from paying childlessness.

The childlessness tax rate was not the same for everyone. For example, those who earned 70 rubles were not charged it. And for salaries less than 91 rubles per month, it was reduced. Over time, the state forced the villagers to pay more. For several years, those villagers who did not have children were charged 150 rubles a year. Those with one or two children were charged 50 and 25 rubles per year, respectively.

Adopters were also exempt from paying this fee. But if the only child in the family died, the parents were taxed again.

Initially, the USSR authorities promised that the childlessness tax would be a temporary measure. But in the end, it existed until the collapse of the state in 1991. However in the late 1980s, the rules were relaxed: after marriage, couples were exempted from paying it for a year.

In terms of demographics, the introduction of the childlessness tax really started the baby boom in the USSR. However, historians are not inclined to link these events. After all, a surge in births was also observed in countries that did not have such a tax. In addition, in the 1960s, the birth rate in the Union began to fall, although the tax continued to operate.

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