Cyprus and Greece record third and fourth lowest fertility rates in the EU for 2017

In 2017, 5.075 million babies were born in the European Union (EU), compared with 5.148 million in 2016. In Cyprus 9 229 babies were born in 2017, 46.6% were “first children”, 36.9% second, 12.7% third and 3.8% fourth and subsequent. Out of the 4 254 first borns in Cyprus, 2.9% were born to mothers under 20 years old, 49.9% to mothers between 20-29, 44.5% to mothers 30-39 and 2.7% to mothers 40 and over.

In Greece 88 553 babies were born, 47.7% first children, 38.4% second, 10.3% third and 3.6% fourth or subsequent. Out of the 42 267 first born in Greece, 3.7% was born to mother under 20 years of age, 36.8% to mothers between 20 and 29, 53.9% to mothers 30 to 39 and 5.6% to mothers of 40 years or more (mean age of women at birth of first child 30.4).

Cyprus and Greece rank third and fourth lowest at fertility rates in the EU with 1.32 and 1.35 births. The total fertility rate in the EU stood at 1.59 births per woman in 2017, compared with 1.60 in 2016. The highest total fertility rate since the start of comparable time series was in 2010 when it reached 1.62, still below the replacement level, which is considered to be 2.1 live births per woman.

Among the 5.075 million births, 45% concerned a first child, 36% a second child and 19% a third or subsequent child.

On average in the EU, women who gave birth to their first child in 2017 were 29.1 years old. Over five years, the mean age has gradually increased from 28.7 in 2013 to 29.1 in 2017.

Almost 5% of births of first children in the EU in 2017 were to women aged less than 20 (teenage mothers) and around 3% to women aged 40 and over.

In 2017, France (1.90 births per woman) was the Member State with the highest total fertility rate in the EU, followed by Sweden (1.78), Ireland (1.77), Denmark (1.75) and the United Kingdom (1.74). Conversely, the lowest fertility rates were observed in Malta (1.26 births per woman), Spain (1.31), Italy and Cyprus (both 1.32), Greece (1.35), Portugal (1.38), and Luxembourg (1.39).

In 2017, the mean age of mothers at the first childbirth varied between the EU Member States. The lowest mean age for the first childbirth was recorded in Bulgaria (26.1 years), followed by Romania (26.5), Latvia (26.9), Slovakia (27.1), Poland (27.3), Lithuania (27.5) and Estonia (27.7). In contrast, the mother’s age for the first childbirth was above 30 in Italy (31.1 years), Spain (30.9), Luxembourg (30.8), Greece (30.4) and Ireland (30.3).

The highest shares of births of a first child to teenage mothers (less than 20 years old) were recorded in Romania (13.9% of total births of first child in 2017) and Bulgaria (13.8%), ahead of Hungary (9.9%), Slovakia (9.5%), Latvia (6.7%) and the United Kingdom (6.1%). On the other hand, the lowest shares were observed in Denmark (1.5%), Italy and Slovenia (both 1.6%), the Netherlands (1.7%), Luxembourg (1.9%) and Sweden (2.0%).

In contrast, the highest proportions of births of a first child to women aged 40 and over were registered in Spain (7.4% of total births of first child in 2017) and Italy (7.3%), followed by Greece (5.6%), Luxembourg (4.9%), Ireland (4.8%) and Portugal (4.3%).

In the EU, 81.5% of births were first or second children, while births of third children accounted for 12.5% of the total, and fourth or subsequent children accounted for 6.0% in 2017. Across the EU Member States, the highest share of mothers giving birth to their fourth or subsequent children was recorded in Finland (10.3%), followed by Ireland (9.0%), the United Kingdom (8.8%), Slovakia (8.1%), and Belgium (8.0%).

Source: Cyprus News Agency