Cuba is encouraging its rapidly aging population to have more babies, reports state-run media.
The daily Granma newspaper reported that President Raul Castro called the communist island's graying population "one of the greatest challenges facing the nation because of its impact on social, economic and family life."
AdvertisementCastro's cabinet has adopted a slate of policies to boost the fertility rate, including financial incentives, the daily reported.
The government also announced plans to increase care for the elderly, Granma wrote.
By 2027, the number of deaths in Cuba could surpass births, and overall population will not only get older, but also smaller, a state official said at the meeting.
Lower birth rates and a steady stream of migrants leaving the island has caused the population to drop 11.2 to 11.1 million in the last decade, according to census data.
Around 45,000 Cubans have left the island every year in the last decade, official statistics show.
Cuba currently has 2.4 million people over the age of 60, a demographic, which, by 2045, is expected to make up more than a third of the island's population, posing serious economic challenges.
Officials said limited access to housing, the high costs of child care and a lack of family support services have contributed to the low fertility rate.