Population decline on the horizon in Europe as fertility rates stay below replenishment level

The highest fertility rates in the EU can be found in France and Sweden, but even in these countries they are somewhat short of the replenishment level.

That means that without migration, modern society would go into decline in Europe, according to data set out by the bloc’s official statistician Eurostat.

It is widely accepted that fertility rates need to stand at around 2.1 children per woman for a population to sustainably replace itself.

In France, the figure stands at 1.92 children per woman and in Sweden it is 1.88 on average over the course of a lifetime.

As an EU average, the rate is even lower, stalling at 1.6, with only Turkey, which is outside of the EU, exceeding France at 2.08 as the sole country in continental Europe bucking the trend.

The southern European countries of Italy, Spain and Portugal demonstrated the lowest fertility rates, ranging from 1.34 to 1.36.

In Eurostat’s report, it also became clear that the average age of first time mothers is also rising, except when the UK is concerned.

Back in 2010, the average age for a mother in Britain to give birth to their first child was 30.6, but by 2016 this had fallen to 28.9.

This puts British mothers at around the same age as those in the rest of the EU, where the overall average is 29.ADNFCR-2094-ID-801845891-ADNFCR