Minister highlights need for talks on changing population dynamics

Minister of Social and Family Development Dr. Aishath Shiham has highlighted the urgent need for national discussions on the country's changing population dynamics.

Speaking to PSM News, Minister Aishath Shiham highlighted many countries worldwide are grappling with declining birth rates and are implementing measures to address the issue. She said that these countries are offering various allowances for children and enhancing childcare arrangements for working parents.

Additionally, Minister Aishath stressed the importance of establishing childcare support within the workplace, enabling working parents to fulfill their childcare responsibilities effectively. She noted the Maldives must soon engage in national discussions to devise strategies for supporting working parents and reversing the declining birth rate trend.

Furthermore, Minister Aishath said that failing to address the declining birth rate could hinder national development. According to the latest census data, the Maldives is experiencing a worrying decline in its birth rate, which could lead to a significant reduction in the working-age population in the near future.

The Maldives Bureau of Statistics (MBS) reported that the population of the Maldives was 338,434 in 2014 and increased to 382,751 by 2022, averaging an increase of 5,500 children per year. During the same period, the elderly population also grew, raising concerns about the increasing burden on the country's workforce as the working-age population decreases and the retiring population expands.

Earlier this year, First Lady Sajidha Mohamed also highlighted the economic threat posed by the declining birth rate, underscoring the growing concerns over this demographic challenge.