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Geopolitical uncertainties, world warming, housing disaster… The French are much less inclined to have kids in in the present day’s France. A drop within the beginning price unprecedented for the reason that Second World War, with fears of an acceleration within the growing old of the inhabitants, detrimental to the steadiness of the retirement system. France, nonetheless, stays among the many most fertile nations in Europe.

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Last 12 months, 726,000 infants had been born in France. The lowest stage for the reason that finish of World War II. After reaching a price in 2022 not seen since 1945, the variety of births fell by one other 7% over the primary eight months of 2023, based on an INSEE research revealed on September 28. A unbroken downward development which makes demographers concern a “dropout” for this 12 months.

“If this trend continues, the number of births should fall below the symbolic bar of 700,000 in 2023,” feedback Chloé Tavan, head of the demographic surveys and research division at INSEE, to AFP. “The year 2023 risks marking a new historic low, a real drop,” provides Didier Breton, professor of demography on the University of Strasbourg and affiliate researcher on the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED).

However, a low beginning price causes “a phenomenon of demographic aging”, explains Gilles Pison, specialist in world demography, professor emeritus on the National Museum of Natural History and advisor to INED. “This has consequences that must be anticipated, such as the adjustment of retirement systems or the increase in the proportion of elderly people compared to the rest of the population, with the need for help and assistance for some of them when there are disabilities”.

The finish of the French exception?

With a median variety of kids per girl of 1.8, France has till now been preserved in comparison with its European neighbors. But, based on Didier Breton, the nation “is converging towards a fertility model that we observe in Europe, of 1.5 children per woman. We risk going from 1.8 to 1.7 in 2023”, feedback he.

France is now getting nearer to different EU nations, the place births fell by 5% on common between 2021 and 2022: -2% in Spain and Italy, -7% in Germany, -8% in Poland, based on Chloe Tavan.

However, the French nonetheless stay “champions of the birth rate in Europe”, remembers Gilles Pison. “In the countries of southern Europe – Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain, where women have fewer children, family policy is less generous in budgetary terms. The level of remuneration for parental leave and family allowances are less and the provision of care for young children so that mothers can continue to work is less abundant. Although we lack crèches and childminders, the situation is already better here than in these European countries “.

According to the demographer, “generally speaking, it turns out that it is when inequalities between men and women are less that women have more children.”

Inflation, housing crisis and war in Ukraine

The downward trend in the birth rate over the past 10 years has not always been continuous. Since 2011, the number of births has fallen each year but France experienced a slight rebound in 2021, the year following the confinements linked to Covid-19. These fluctuations from one year to the next are sometimes linked to economic conditions. “In the event of an economic crisis, we often observe a decrease in births,” explains Gilles Pison, estimating that they’ll then be caught up by a rise after the disaster.

Read alsoWith eight billion people on Earth, the fear of overpopulation

Currently, inflation and housing conditions can impact the desire to have a child, but also geopolitical and climatic uncertainties. “The war in Ukraine is an additional source of uncertainty about the future which can undoubtedly delay a birth project. In the background also climate change and the threatened future of the planet,” notes the demographer.

Especially since some French people, rather young, call themselves “childfree” or “ginks” and decide not to have children to protect the environment. In around ten years, the theme of non-procreation has gained ground. “Young people are more aware [de l’urgence climatique]thanks to the publication of studies on global warming and the emergence of questions of damage to biodiversity in the public debate”, already confided to France 24 in 2021 Denis Garnier, president of Démographie Stratégie, an affiliation which promotes decline in beginning price.

Read additionallyOverpopulation: they do not need kids to protect the planet

The resumption of a rise in births may additionally come up towards the excessive prevalence of infertility on the planet which impacts one in six individuals and spares no nation, based on the WHO which now describes it as a “main well being downside in all nations and in all areas of the world.

For males, research have confirmed a 50% drop in male fertility linked to pesticides and a degraded setting, which will increase the time it takes to conceive.

Late motherhood

The INSEE research, nonetheless, reveals that the beginning price is growing in France within the technology of forty-year-olds. If births fell by 2.7% amongst ladies aged 25 to 29, and by 3.6% amongst these aged 30-34, the variety of births to moms aged 40 and over elevated by 3. 3% between 2021 and 2022.

INSEE stories a rise within the common age at motherhood, which has reached 31.2 years, in comparison with 26 years within the second half of the Seventies. However, late motherhood has an impact on the variety of kids per 12 months. couple. “If couples postpone their plans to have a child, they may find themselves facing fertility problems and forming smaller families,” observes Didier Breton.

With AFP