The declining birth rate in Europe

 declining birth rate in Europe


According to a survey recently conducted by the Max Planck Institute the birth rate in Europe has decreased dramatically and the cause is no other than the crisis. They talk of rising unemployment, which means that many women whose economic stability is not good enough will consider giving up or delaying maternity, with the consequences that this entails.

Spain is the country within the EU with the lowest financial support to families  

Another alarming fact is that the countries that are being affected by this drop in the birth rate are those in Southern Europe, and that includesSpain. In fact, it seems that the population ofSpainwill fall in 2013 for the first time in three decades.

Also, if the current demographic trends are maintained over the time, the country will lose 10 per cent of its population over the next 40 years and the 34 per cent will be 64 years old in 2052, according to population predictions published by the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE) this Monday.

These data correspond to the short term (2012-2022) and the long term (2012-2052) population surveys conducted by the INE. They point out migration, the increase in deaths, the birth drop and the reduction of women in reproductive age among the causes, Europa Press reports.

Furthermore, we must add to these causes the scarce family policies, now almost non-existing, due to government economic cuts and lack of interest because family is not a priority for them. And if we keep talking we can add cuts in school grants and financial support, family support, school closures, aids for books, cuts in schools canteens, financial support withdrawal for child birth, lack of support for child adoption policies and foster care, no concern and support to single-parent families (see article: “single-parent families in utter oblivion political, economic and social”) which are the most affected by the crisis. The lack of family policies is also a very important cause in the opinion of Mr. Eduardo Hertfelder, president of the Institute for Family Policy (IPF).

InSpain, the government has not opted for the family in the last 30 years and this is what we are picking up now.

Children only in the boundary of reproductive age

If child birth was already delayed before the crisis, now it is even more. According to a survey, couples who are approaching the age limit for having a child (see article “Motherhood after 40”), are more receptive to have it despite the situation, but this shows the potential problems associated with having children at an age limit of around 40. And do not forget that if the wanted child arrives, it may be an only child.

This exhaustive analysis makes an assessment of the last 10 years and shows a parallel progression of rising unemployment and lower birth rates, equivalence charts determine that 1% increase in unemployment equals a drecrease of 0.1% in the birth rate, and if this progression is transferred to Spain, the declining birth rate is high. In Spain, the decline of births in recent years has been progressive and parallel to the worsening economic situation.

While family policies are almost non-existing, predictions show that by 2018, there will be more deaths than births, which reveal a scenario of progressive loss of population in coming decades. Vegetative growth in 2018 will be negative for the first time. During the next 40 years, 14.6 million children will be born inSpain, 24% less than in the last four decades. In 2021, 20% less children will be born than in the last year and until2031 a 9% fewer births will be recorded than in the last 20 years.

Spanish birth rate in a critical situation      

The Spanish birth rate is in such a critical situation that to recover the replacement level, 280.000 annual births more than at present are needed. We should reach 752.000 births a year, but in 2011 there were only 471.999 births inSpain. The report also says that in other European countries such asFranceandUK, the generational recovery has already been attained.

Among the causes pointed out in this article, apart from the crisis we must consider the family policies of governments. In those countries where an integral policy to support families is developped, an increase in the birth rate is achieved. And the report adds that “Spain is the country in the EU with the lowest support to families”.

New decline in the birth rate of Spain in June        

The number of births has fallen again inSpainfor the fourth consecutive year by 3.9% over the previous year, and in 2012 it was 453.637 according to the Spanish Institute of Statistics.

“Spain is a country where there are fewer children every day” according to an article recently published by the newspaper El Mundo, which emphasizes that the birth rate has fallen almost 13% along the crisis years (since 2008).

A very short financial support of 24 euros a month to poor families

According to the IPF,Spainis the country in the EU with the lowest family support. With the economic crisis, the few existing aids have been discontinued and just a “ridiculous” aid of 24 euros a month per children is still in force for poor families or families at risk of social exclusion.

Another cause of the decline is that many immigrants, whose children represent  a 20% of the births,  have already left the country. Therefore, the birth rate in Spain in the last years was a fictional bubble that depended too much on births by foreign mothers.

Surveys show that Spanish families would like to have an average of 2.7 children, but they only have 1.32.

Author: Rosa Maestro

Periodista, comunicadora, madre sin pareja con donante de esperma y por adopción internacional, fundadora de la web y autora de los cuentos infantiles #reproducciónasistida "Cloe quiere ser mamá..", "Nora y Zoe, dos mamás para un bebé" y "Lucía y e cofre mágico de la familia".