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Web magazine, 16 July 2013 15:00

Birth rate back to level early 1980s

The birth rate has declined further to 172 thousand between June 2012 and May 2013, i.e. a decrease by 6.4 thousand relative to the same period one year previously.

Birth rate falls to 172 thousand

Over the period June 2012 - May 2013, the number of births has returned to the level of the first half of the 1980s. With 170 thousand, the lowest birth rate was reached in 1983. The annual birth rate in the Netherlands also declined in 2011 and 2012, although the number of women in their reproductive years has remained fairly stable in recent years. There appears to be a relation between the declining birth rate and the recession that has gripped the country during the past few years and has prompted young women to delay motherhood or remain childless.

Births, 1980–2013

Births, 1980–2013

Many young women delay motherhood or remain childless

The declining birth rate is most obvious in women round the age of 30. The relative decline is most substantial in women in their early twenties. The birth rate has remained stable among women in their late thirties. In view of their age, delay is no option for these women.

Births by age of the mother

Births by age of the mother, 2010 and 2012

The decline is more obvious for fist-born children than for second-born children. The decline is even more obvious for third-born children.

Births by age of the mother, 2010 and 2012

Birth rate declines across nearly all EU member states

Between 2010 and 2011, the average number of children in the member states of the European Union fell from 1.60 to 1.57. The average number of children in the Netherlands fell from 1.79 to 1.76 and in Germany from 1.39 to 1.36. In Spain and Greece, the birth rate started to fall in 2009 and 2010 respectively. In Sweden, the average birth rate declined in 2011 after a substantial increase in recent years, but is still above the EU average.

Average number of children (TFR) in various member states of the European Union

Average number of children (TFR) in various member states of the European Union, 2000–2011

Suzanne Loozen, Arie de Graaf and Carel Harmsen

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