Wednesday, January 16, 2008

French claim European fertility prize

France now has the highest fertility rate in Europe.
With 1.98 children per woman, France's fertility rate is now ahead of Ireland on 1.90, according to the latest government figures, and well above the European Union average of 1.52.

Babies born to unmarried couples represented 50.5 of all French births in 2007, compared to 48.4 percent the previous year and merely 5.9 percent in 1965, according to the French national statistics institute INSEE.
Sociologist Irene Thery told Le Parisien newspaper this was the "logical outcome of a major revolution... Gradually, it's the child who has come to make the family, not the marriage."

France's leap back up the fertility table began in 1993, back when its fertility was only 1.66 children per woman, although it still falls just short of the 2.07 children per woman needed for generations to be replaced.

Pro-birth public policies, including universal public schooling from the age of three, and the relative affordability of childcare for infants are credited in part with the increase in fertility.

With a total of 816,500 babies born last year, France's fertility rate has dipped slightly since 2006, however, when it passed the symbolic mark of two children per woman.

Child-bearing has been separated from marriage, and the state has taken over responsibility for child support. One thing not mentioned is the relative fertility rates of European French and the African Muslim population of France. I once speculated on this difference in print. I was quickly slapped down by people who pointed out that the French don't keep statistics separated by race or national ancestry. In the US, for instance, we know that the fertility of Blacks and Hispanics is higher than non-Hispanic whites. We also know that college-educated white women have fertility rates around 1.7, well below the national average of 2.1.

It would be interesting to know the ethic composition of French fertility, but I guess it isn't knowable.

The average age of first-time mothers, rising year on year, stood at 29.8 years.

In this, the French are acting like college educated residents of Massachusetts, which had the highest age at first marriage and first child-birth, the last time I looked.

1 comment:

Ryan S. said...

Well, it's not the French that are breeding; it's the North African Muslim immigrants and Turks. ;-)

Demographic Winter

Death of the West