The number of women without children continues to rise in Europe, especially in the countries of the South that have accumulated all sorts of difficulties, particularly economic, AFP informs citing the findings of a French study published on Tuesday.
The study compares the birth rate in European women born between 1900 and 1972. One woman in four, who was born in the first decade of the twentieth century had no children. For women born after 1970, the proportion is about one to seven (14%), according to the National Institute of Demographic Studies.
The first World War, which led to many deaths of young aged people who could have the chance to get married and have children and the economic crisis of the 30s, which forced those in the poorest countries to emigrate to richer countries, explains most of this “substantial backwardness” regarding the number of births at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Following the economic growth and the introduction of social protection systems, the birth rate then strongly increased.
Until 1975, it followed a so-called “baby-boom”: women had on average 2,1 children, while among those born in the early 1940s, for example, only one in ten women on average had no children.
Since then, however, the fertility rate never ceased to fall, underlines the Institute, reaching the lowest levels in Europe: on average 1,7 children for women born in 1974.
The effective contraception measures, the desire to first have a job favored this situation, as the authors of the study have noted.
In the South, where up to one in four women born in the 70s could remain childless, the birth rate declined the most.
In countries such as Spain, Greece or Italy, encompassing “difficulties on the labor market” and “gender inequalities that are still very pronounced are making it difficult to reconcile work and family”. The birth rate would continue to decline, approaching the peak reached after World War I, the Institute predicted.