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22 Mar, 2024 17:21

EU nation’s fertility rate hits record low

Women in Sweden now give birth to 1.45 children on average during their lifetime
EU nation’s fertility rate hits record low

Sweden’s total fertility rate – the number of children an average woman gives birth to during her lifetime – sank to a record low in 2023, and is on course to plunge further this year, Sveriges Television (SVT) reported on Friday, citing Statistics Sweden.

According to the report, the rate was 1.45 children per woman last year, the lowest since records began in 1749. The number of births in 2023 was the smallest since 2003, when the total population was nearly 1.6 million fewer than the current 10.5 million.

“There has been a downward trend since 2010. We see that it occurs throughout the country and both among women who were born in Sweden and who immigrated from abroad,” Guadalupe Andersson, an analyst at Statistics Sweden, told the broadcaster.

January 2024 data showed that the downward trend is continuing. Only 7,900 children were born across the country in the first month of the year, 350 fewer than in January 2023.

“We seem to be on our way to a new low... The reason is unclear,” analysts said.

Several women who spoke to SVT said they were hesitant to become parents. Most cited climate change and the threat posed by conflicts around the world as the cause of their reluctance.

The TV channel noted that the consequences of the low birth rate are being felt across the country. Several preschools have recently announced they will not be reopening next fall, and will have to lay off staff. Also, over the longer term, fewer able-bodied people will be able to support Sweden’s growing elderly population, analysts warn.