The fertility rate has fallen sharply in the most affected by the crisis countries, the Vienna Institute of Demography sounded the alarm.
In order for the economy of a country to be supported the minimum fertility rate required is 2.1 children per woman. Underneath this rate, the effect is catastrophic leading to population ageing - and respectively to economic downturn. An example for this is China where there are 4 elderly people for every 1 working person. Another study shows that by 2050 China will have only 2.2 people of working age for every one person over 65.
The European crisis doesn’t only affect the unemployment or the purchasing power. It also has a direct and dramatic impact on the birth rate in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland.
The lack of future perspective, the uncertainty and the augmentation of the unemployment are pushing people to reduce or delay their parenthood plans.
The Austrian researchers studied fertility in 22 European countries between 2008 and 2011. Shockingly, in 15 of them fertility rates have been declining and this disturbing trend keeps on continuing.
“The European data shows a clear correlation between rising unemployment and declining birth rates,” says Tomas Sobotka.
Spain, being the emblematic case, shows the highest rate of unemployment in Europe with its over 26% unemployment rate. The Spanish suffered a decline in the number of births in 2009, a year after the deterioration of the labor market. Its fertility rate, after rising from 1.23 in 2000 to 1.46 in 2008, fell to 1.36 in 2011.
Two exceptions exist: Germany that never rose her fertility rate and France the fertility rate of which rose from 1.8 to 2 in ten years, despite the crisis, thanks to their generous family policy.
In Greece, the number of abortions has increased by 50% in 2011 to reach 300,000. In Portugal, the number of births fell from 2012 to 90,000, its lowest point in 60 years.
USA is following the same path.
Still, the future looks brighter as the world starts to wake up from the financial distress.
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