France has long been known for having one of the highest birth rates in Europe, but 2016 marks it’s second consecutive year of decreasing birth rate after eight years of relative stability.
French national statistics institute Insee published it’s annual demographic report on Tuesday, it’s key finding showed that birth rates in France have dropped in 2016 to just 1.93 children per woman.
In 2015, France had the highest birth rate in Europe at 1.96 children per woman, although this was down from the symbolic rate of 2 children per mother in 2014.
Insee reports that the lowering birth rate is partly due to the fact that there are less and less women of child-bearing ages in France.
The number of 20 to 40 year old women have been on the decrease in France since the 1990’s, as women born in the baby-boom period of 1946 – 1964 start to leave that age bracket.
Despite reduced births, the total population of France has still grown by 0.4% in the last year, the report states.
As of January 1st 2017 there were 66.9 million people in France.
This rise in population is because the number of births are still 198, 000 greater than the number of deaths. The number of deaths in France fell slightly last year by 7,000, after a steep rise in 2015.
Insee equally underlines that the birth rate in France is “nevertheless, high overall” far above Portugal, who in 2015 had the lowest birth rate in Europe at 1.23 children per woman.
In 2014 authorities reported that the birth rate in Paris had fallen to a 40-year low.
Critics said authorities must provide more nursery places to stem the falling birth rate.
By Rose Trigg