The birth rate in the Netherlands continues to decline because an increasing number of women are opting to remain childless, national statistics agency CBS said on Wednesday.
The average birth rate is now 1.49 children per woman, which is a sharp drop on the 1.79 babies per woman in 2010. Women who do give birth have an average of 2.1 children and that figure is stable, the CBS said.
The drop in the birthrate is strongest among young women who left school without any qualifications. “People want stability before they start having children and people with few qualifications are often faced with more financial uncertainties,” CBS sociologist Tanja Traag told NOS.
The decline has been going on for some time and started during the last financial crisis. “The labour market has become more flexible and young people feel that most,” Traag said. “A permanent job makes it easier to buy or rent a house, for example. And these are factors which can influence whether or not you have children.”
The CBS does expect the number of births to rise in the future as the population grows.
The population of the Netherlands grew to 17.9 million in the first nine months of this year, but the number of deaths outstripped the number of births.
“Just” 123,400 children were born between January and the end of September, and that is down 3,400 from a year ago. But 124,300 people died, meaning the population, excluding immigration, actually went down and that is ‘exceptional”, the CBS said earlier.
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