Birth rates Europe plummet amidst pandemic


European Union


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The number of newborns in Europe decreased significantly during the pandemic, a United Nations study concludes.

Since October 2020, data from nineteen European countries and the United States have shown a “strong decline in the birth rate” compared to the same months of the previous year, writes German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine. The study was done by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The results of which are available to the German Press Agency. The UNFPA plans to publish the study on World Population Day on July 11th.

In the 15 EU countries studied alone, the number of babies fell by 3 in October, by 5 in November and by 8.1 per cent in December 2020. Rachel Snow, UNFPA’s leading population expert, explains: “Most people would rather have fewer children in uncertain times - and the question is whether they have the means.” This is certainly the case in Europe.

Especially Spaniards were cautious during the pandemic; the southern European country recorded a decline of 20 per cent births in January. France comes second, with a decrease of 13.5 per cent.

For Snow, however, the factors for falling births are too numerous to explain the intra-European differences - it is still too early to make definitive conclusions.

However, she emphasized that the Scandinavian countries, in particular, generally have more stable birth rates, “while on the other hand Portugal, Spain and Italy are countries that had already recorded a declining birth rate before the pandemic.”

There are, however, signs of the opposite trend in some less developed countries. According to Snow, people there are less able to reduce the number of births because of poor access to contraceptives and sexual education. “We have seen an increase in teenage pregnancies in Malawi, and there are similar indications from Mexico.”

Although every crisis is different, Snow tells the Frankfurter Allgemeine, there is no need to worry about the fall in birth rates. “Don’t panic that the world will suddenly be deserted because of Covid. The birth rates can go down for a while, but it can also recover quickly.”



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