Over 5 million babies born in the EU in 2015

Women first became mothers at almost 29 on average

9 March 2017, 9:17am
Overall, the total fertility rate in the EU increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2015
Overall, the total fertility rate in the EU increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2015
In 2015, 5.103 million babies were born in the European Union (EU), compared with 5.063 million in 2001 (the first year comparable statistics are available), according to the EU statistical office Eurostat.

Among Member States, France continued to record the highest number of births (799,700 in 2015), ahead of the United Kingdom (776,700), Germany (737,600), Italy (485,800), Spain (418,400) and Poland (369,300).

On average in the EU, women who gave birth to their first child in 2015 were aged nearly 29 (28.9 years). Across Member States, first time mothers were the youngest in Bulgaria and the oldest in Italy.

Overall, the total fertility rate in the EU increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2015. It varied between Member States from 1.31 in Portugal to 1.96 in France in 2015. A total fertility rate of around 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 the population size constant without migration.

Total fertility rate below the replacement level of 2.1 in all Member States

In 2015, France (1.96) and Ireland (1.92) were the two Member State with total fertility rates closest to the replacement level of around 2.1. They were followed by Sweden (1.85) and the United Kingdom (1.80). Conversely, the lowest fertility rates were observed in Portugal (1.31), Cyprus and Poland (both 1.32), Greece and Spain (both 1.33) as well as Italy (1.35).

In most Member States, the total fertility rate rose in 2015 compared with 2001. The largest increases were observed in Latvia (from 1.22 in 2001 to 1.70 in 2015, or +0.48), the Czech Republic (+0.42), Lithuania (+0.41), Slovenia (+0.36), Bulgaria (+0.32), Romania (+0.31), Sweden (+0.28) and Estonia (+0.26). In contrast, the highest decreases were registered in Cyprus (-0.25), Luxembourg (-0.19) and Portugal (-0.14). For the EU as a whole, the total fertility rate increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2015 (+0.12).

First time mothers youngest in Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia, oldest in Italy and Spain

In 2015, the mean age of women at birth of their first child stood at 27 or below in Bulgaria (26.0), Romania (26.3), Latvia (26.5) and Poland (27.0). In contrast, this age was above 30 in Italy (30.8), Spain (30.7), Luxembourg and Greece (both 30.2).

Highest growth in number of births over last 15 years in Sweden, largest drop in Portugal

In the EU, 40 217 more babies were born in 2015 than in 2001 (+0.8%). Across Member States, the largest relative increases were in Sweden (+25.6%), the Czech Republic (+22.1%), Slovenia (+18.1%) and the United Kingdom (+16.1%). In contrast, the highest decrease was in Portugal (-24.2%), followed by the Netherlands (-15.8%), Denmark (-11.1%), Romania (-10.4%) and Greece (-10.2%).