Eurostat has recently released its report on the fertility rate of the EU for the year 2021. The statistical office of the European Union got to share some good news: there was a slight increase in the number of births compared to 2020. Then, the average number of births per woman was 1.50; in 2021, that figure rose to 1.53. These rates have been on an overall upwards trajectory ever since Eurostat started measuring them in 2001.
The initial report showed 1.43 childbirths per woman. There was a slight dip between 2011 and 2020—however, in that time period, Eurostat only released three reports on the subject, in 2011, 2019, and 2020. The numbers for these years were 1.54, 1.53, and 1.50 newborns per woman, respectively. This dip was thankfully reversed with the 1.53 fertility rate for 2021, during the time of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic.
As for the statistics broken down by country, French women had the most fertile year in 2021, with an average of 1.84 babies being born to them that year. They were followed by the women of the Czech Republic (1.83), and Romania (1.83) was placed third. Meanwhile, Malta recorded the lowest birth rate in the same time period, 1.13. Spain was only slightly ahead of the small island nation with 1.19.
Hungary, thanks to the Orbán government’s family support initiatives, stayed above the EU average
with an annual birth rate of 1.61.
The total number of babies born in the EU was 4.09 million in 2021. This puts the bloc’s so-called ‘crude birth rate’ (the number of live births per 1,000 people) at 9.1. Birth rates have been steadily declining in Europe over the decades. In 1970, it stood at 16.4; in 1985, at 12.8; and in 2000, at 10.5. In this timeframe, the largest number of births was recorded in 1964: that year saw 6.8 million children born in countries that are today part of the EU.
In 1960, the fertility rate in Hungary was 2.02. That number dropped to as low as 1.23 in 2011, but thankfully has seen a steady increase since, with 1.55 reported in 2019, 1.59 in 2020, and 1.61 in 2021, as noted above.
In the EU as a whole, the average age of a woman having her first child was 29.7 years. This number was the lowest in Bulgaria at 26.5 years, and the highest in Italy and Spain at 31.6 years.
You can read the Eurostat report in its entirety here.
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Author: Márton Losonczi
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