Hungary hosts dance parties to boost birth rate

Posted By Kristen Butler,   |   May 30, 2013 at 8:30 AM
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With the population of Hungary in steady decline, as well as the number of marriages, the government has turned to funding dance parties to try and get singles together.

The Minister of State for Social, Family and Youth Affairs Miklos Soltesz explained to Al Jazeera that part of the problem is that crowded “loud discos,” are increasingly popular, but do not give young people space for talking or dancing.

Last weekend the government held dance parties across the country, and according to Soltesz, about 5,000 young Hungarians took part. The program, called "Are you free for a dance?" was so successful the government is planning another round of parties in the fall.

One college student attended an event in Budapest and appreciated the party and its purpose. He said that in ordinary settings like discos and pubs, women are more closed off to men they don't know because of safety concerns.

The parties included young people dancing to popular music in addition to instructors who would dance in other styles including ballroom, swing, ballet and folk dancing in costume.

Some cities didn't quite hit the right demographic of Hungarians. In the southern city of Pecs, local media reported that elderly women and families with young children were the majority in attendance.

From 2001 to 2011, the population decreased by 200,000 to about 9.9 million. Emigration is a key factor in the country's population decline. The amount of Hungarians who migrated to Germany in 2012 increased by 30 percent from the year before.

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