The number of births in France has been falling steadily since 2014. Declining fertility rate, higher average age of motherhood, economic context: the reasons that push the French to have fewer children.

historic drop in the birth rate in france

A drop of 13 %

53,900 babies were born in January 2021, a drop of 13% compared to January 2020, reports INSEE. If the decline in the birth rate has been observed for several years in France, today the gap is widening. “You have to go back to 1975, the end of the baby boom, to observe a phenomenon of such magnitude”. Uncertainty about the future, financial difficulties, intra-family and marital violence: there are many reasons for the fall in the birth rate. According to INSEE, “the context of health crisis and great uncertainty” could have “discouraged couples from procreating”, or “encouraged them to postpone their parenthood projects for several months”.

A consequence of the economic crisis of 2008

The Institute for Statistical Studies also recalls that, during the first confinement, medically assisted procreation centers remained closed. Demographer Gilles Pison also explains the decline in births as a consequence, out of time, of the economic crisis of 2008. Between 2008 and 2017, in the United States, for example, the fertility indicator fell by 15%, in the Kingdom United, 11%. In France, it only fell by 6%, and later. “We are undoubtedly in the presence of an effect of this crisis, although made later and moderate than elsewhere, perhaps because of the French social and family policies which were able to slow down and cushion it”. For the whole of 2020, INSEE now estimates the number of births in France at only 735,000, a drop of 2.5% in just one year. This is the lowest figure since the end of the Second World War.

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