MOSCOW, June 20 (UPI) -- Russia's birth rate has grown 30 percent since 2007, Russian Minister of Labor and Social Protection Maxim Topilin said.
In an interview Wednesday with the Ekho Moskvy radio station, Topilin attributed the rise in births to the introduction of the so-called maternity capital, which encourages families to have more than one child, on Jan. 1, 2007.
"During this period, the birth rate increased by 30 percent," he said. "We attribute [this growth] to the introduction of the maternity capital, among other things."
Women who give birth to a second child are eligible for a government-issued benefit of nearly $12,600, which can be used to improve housing conditions, pay for a child's education or put toward a pension, RIA Novosti said.
Topilin did not give exact numbers regarding the increase in birth rate.