Birth rates dipped further in Europe during pandemic, UN says
The COVID-19 pandemic may have accelerated, at least temporarily, the global trend towards lower fertility rates. Statistics from late 2020—nine months after the first lockdowns kicked in—show a sharp decline in the number of births in many European countries. However, the focus on birth rates misses the larger point, UNFPA's Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Alanna Armitage said in her article on the occasion of July 11 - World Population Day, the UN Azerbaijan Office said.
"Rather than worrying about the ups and downs of population numbers, it is time we recognized that low fertility is very likely here to stay. And it is time to come to grips with what needs to be done to prepare our economies and societies for this all but inevitable demographic future.
Statistics from late 2020—nine months after the first lockdowns kicked in—show a sharp decline in the number of births in many European countries.
The pandemic—and its impact on people’s reproductive choices—hit when fertility rates were already very low across Europe. In Eastern Europe, mass outmigration has added to the problem: people don’t only have fewer children, they leave their home countries in droves to find better opportunities elsewhere. As a result, populations have been shrinking. Since the 1990s, Bulgaria or Latvia, to name just two, have lost a quarter of their population.
But these challenges are manageable. Not only that, they open up opportunities for innovation that can catapult countries towards a more prosperous future.
The sooner we acknowledge that the solution to Europe’s demographic woes does not lie in increasing birth rates, the sooner we will be able to focus on what really matters in addressing the continent’s perceived population crisis: our ability to build countries where people want to stay, live and have families," the article reads.