The drama of Europe: the drastic decrease in births causes the population to age rapidly and the economy to be without labor force

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Bucharest, March 11, 2024RBJ – The European Union and, in general, Europe is going through a very dangerous situation. The demographic situation of all EU states is deplorable, causing the population to decrease and human resources for social and economic development to decrease.
After Japan, the EU is the entity with the worst results regarding the renewal of generations, due to the decrease in fertility and, therefore, the number of births.
According to Eurostat, in 2022, 3.88 million children were born in the EU, compared to 4.68 million children born in 2008.

The total fertility rate in 2022 was 1.46 live births per woman in the EU, which is another decrease after the small increase in 2021 (the total fertility rate was 1.53 in 2021 and 1.51 in 2020).

The renewal of generations, a dream of the past

In recent decades, Europeans have generally had fewer children, and this pattern partly explains the slowdown in population growth in the EU. The most widely used indicator of fertility is the total fertility rate. This is the average number of live births a woman would have in her lifetime if she went through her childbearing years according to a woman’s age-specific fertility rates. given year A total fertility rate of about 2.1 live births per woman is considered to be the replacement level in developed countries. In other words, the average number of live births per woman required to keep population size constant in the absence of migration.

In 2022, the total fertility rate in the EU was 1.46 live births per woman. The EU’s total fertility rate was at a low of 1.43 in 2001 and 2002, from a relative high of 1.57 in 2008 and 2010.

France with the highest and Malta with the lowest total fertility rate in 2022

Among the EU Member States, France reported the highest total fertility rate in 2022, with 1.79 live births per woman, followed by Romania (1.71) and Bulgaria (1.65). By contrast, the lowest total fertility rates in 2022 were recorded in Malta (1.08 live births per woman), Spain (1.16) and Italy (1.24). Among the EFTA countries, the highest total fertility rate in 2022 was reported by Iceland (1.59) and the lowest by Switzerland (1.39).

Between 2020 and 2021, the total fertility rate increased in 21 EU Member States, decreased in four EU Member States and was stable in Spain and Sweden. This trend reversed between 2021 and 2022, with the total fertility rate decreasing in 25 and increasing in two EU Member States: the highest increase could be observed in Portugal (from 1.35 in 2021 to 1.43 in 2022) while the highest decrease was recorded in Ireland (from 1.78 in 2021 to 1.54 in 2022).

In the majority of the EU Member States, the total fertility rate declined considerably between 1980 and 2000–2003: by 2000, values had fallen below 1.30 in Bulgaria, Czechia, Greece, Spain, Italy, Latvia and Slovenia. After reaching a low point between 2000 and 2003, the total fertility rate increased in many EU Member States and by 2022, all of them except Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Malta and Poland reported total fertility rates that were above 1.30.

In the past 50 years, total fertility rates in the EU Member States have, in general, been converging: in 1970, the disparity between the highest rates (recorded in Ireland) and the lowest rates (recorded in Finland) was around 2.0 live births per woman. By 1990 this difference — between a high in Cyprus and a low in Italy — had decreased to 1.1 live births per woman. By 2010, the difference had fallen again to 0.8 live births per woman with a high in Ireland and a low in Hungary. By 2022 the difference narrowed to 0.7 when the highest total fertility rate was recorded in France and the lowest rate was recorded in Malta.

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