Malta’s fertility rate below EU average

Fertility rate is below EU averaghe of 1.58, and has been falling since 2001 to 1.42

Malta’s fertility rate has fallen below the EU average, and has declined since 2001 when it stood at 1.48, to 1.42 in 2014. The EU average in 2014 was 1.58.

Overall, the fertility rate in the EU increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2014. It varied between Member States from 1.23 in Portugal to 2.01 in France in 2014. 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 in the absence of inward or outward migration.

In 2014, 5.132 million babies were born in the European Union (EU), compared with 5.063 million in 2001. Among Member States, France continued to record the highest number of births (819,300 in 2014), ahead of the United Kingdom (775,900), Germany (714,900), Italy (502 600), Spain (426,100) and Poland (375,200).

On average in the EU, women who gave birth to their first child in 2014 were aged nearly 29 (28.8 years). Across Member States, first time mothers were the youngest in Bulgaria and the oldest in Italy.

Highest fertility rate in France, lowest in Portugal

In 2014, France (2.01) was the only Member State with a fertility rate above 2.0. It was followed by Ireland (1.94), Sweden (1.88) and the United Kingdom (1.81). Conversely, the lowest fertility rate was observed in Portugal (1.23), ahead of Greece (1.30), Cyprus (1.31), Spain and Poland (both 1.32), Italy and Slovakia (both 1.37).

In most Member States, the fertility rate rose in 2014 compared with 2001. The largest increases were observed in Latvia (from 1.22 in 2001 to 1.65 in 2014, or +0.43), the Czech Republic (+0.38), Slovenia (+0.37), Lithuania (+0.34), Bulgaria (+0.32) and Sweden (+0.31).

In contrast, the highest decreases were registered in Cyprus (-0.26), Portugal (-0.22) and Luxembourg (-0.16). For EU as a whole, the fertility rate increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2014 (+0.12).

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

In 2014, the mean age of women at birth of their first child stood at 27 or below in Bulgaria (25.8), Romania (26.1), Latvia (26.3), Estonia (26.6), Poland (26.9), Lithuania and Slovakia (both 27.0). In contrast, this age was 30 or above in Italy (30.7), Spain (30.6), Luxembourg (30.2) and Greece (30.0).

In the EU, 68 552 more babies were born in 2014 than in 2001. Across Member States, the largest relative increases were in Sweden (+25.6%), the Czech Republic and Slovenia (both +21.1%), Ireland (+16.3%) and the United Kingdom (+16.0%). In contrast, the highest decrease was in Portugal (-27.0%), followed by the Netherlands (-13.5%), Denmark (-13.1%) and Romania (-12.4%).

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