When Katsunori and Kaori Osaka had their first child, they were living in a small flat in Nagoya, a city of more than 2 million people in central Japan. Like many other young couples, they tried to raise their child in the city but found life among the apartment blocks too crowded and expensive. Eventually, they gave up. “When people are in their 20s and 30s, they can’t really afford to live in a bigger space in a city,” Katsunori said. “We knew that if we wanted to have more kids, we couldn’t do it there.” Fourteen years later, the Osakas moved to Nagi, where Katsunori grew up. The agricultural town in western Japan has become a success story in the country’s efforts to improve its declining birthrate. With a population of about 6,000, Nagi feels a world away from Nagoya, and residents cite the lack of busy streets and crowds as reasons why it is a great place to bring up children. But they’re not the only benefits: Nagi also pays couples who live there to have children. Families receive 100,000 yen ($879) for their first child, 150,000 yen ($1,335) for their second and as much as 400,000 yen ($3,518) for the fifth child born to the same family. This made Nagi different cities in Japan. Between 2005 and 2014, the town’s birthrate—based on the average number of children a woman has in her lifetime—doubled from 1.4 to 2.8, which is higher than the national average of 1.46. Nagi has also paid the families other perks to improve the birthrate since 2004, including housing, free vaccinations, school fees and reduced nursery costs. And they appear to be working. In the neighborhood where the Osakas live, most couples have three or more children because they can and they want to.