July 10, 2013
Fewer babies have been born in Europe since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, a new study shows.
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany found that the birth rate in 28 European countries dropped as unemployment rose.
People under 25 have been particularly affected, along with those living in southern European countries like Spain.
The relationship between the economy and fertility has long been discussed, but remains controversial.
Researchers at the MPIDR said their study proved that “the extent of joblessness in a contemporary European country does in fact have an effect on birth rates”.
Weathered the crisis
“The financial crisis hit Europe at a time when birth rates in many countries had just began rising again,” said demographer Michaela Kreyenfeld.
She said upward trends in some countries had come to a halt while in others, birth rates declined.
In Spain, the total fertility rate – the number of births per woman – fell nearly 8% between 2008 and 2011 as unemployment went from 8.3% to 11.3%.
A setback also occurred in Hungary, Ireland, Croatia and Latvia, the study said.
Formerly growing birth rates slowed in countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland and the United Kingdom.