Germany recorded a bounce in the birth rate in 2016, official statistics show. The country hit a 43-year high helped along by large numbers of recently-arrived migrants. The latest figures are part of an upward trend for Germany, Europe’s biggest country by population, which has suffered from low birth rates since the 1970s.
Some 792,131 children were born in Europe’s most populous nation in 2016, federal statistics office Destatis said on Tuesday, an increase of 7 percent over the previous year. While German women had some 3 percent more babies than in 2015, at 607,500, non-German births increased 25 percent, to 184,660. “The number of women from countries with traditionally higher tendency to bear children increased” following a surge in migration in 2015-16, Destatis said. Those years saw more than a million people arrive in Germany, many from conflict hotspots in the Middle East.
What the latest numbers tell us:
– The fertility rate — the average number of births per woman — was 1.59 in 2016, a considerable increase from 1.5 in 2015.
– The 2016 rate was the highest recorded since 1973. Experts consider 2.1 to be the level at which the population in a developed country replaces itself with each generation.
– The fertility rate for women with German citizenship increased from 1.43 in 2015 to 1.46 in 2016. The rate for migrant women increased from 1.95 in 2015 to 2.28 in 2016.
– Slightly more than 790,000 babies were born. That was around 54,500 more — a 7 percent increase — compared to 2015.
– German women gave birth to just over 605,000 babies. Foreign women gave birth to just below 185,000 babies.
– 2016 was the fifth year in a row in which the total number of newborns increased.
– The last time women in Germany had as many children was 1996.
Why are there more babies? Destatis said women between the ages of 30 and 37 were more frequently having children. Many of them did not have children when they were younger, which was in stark contrast to older women, who more frequently had children before they turned 30.
Middle of the EU pack: Germany’s 1.59 fertility rate put it near the 1.6 average for all 28 European Union countries in 2016. France had the highest rate with 1.92, while Spain and Italy had the lowest with 1.34.
Turkish mothers top: Women with Turkish citizenship gave birth to the most babies (21,000) among non-Germans. They were followed by Syrian women (18,000 births) and Polish women (12,000 births).
Sola Jolaoso with DW and agency reports