Dramatic drop in birth rates among young mothers

Child birth rates for mothers aged between 20 and 25 have reached a record low in Flanders. This was revealed by research carried out by the Flemish Children's Agency Kind en Gezin. The category between 25 and 30 years of age also sees a drop, as an increasing number of couples are postponing their first child. The overall tendency is that fewer children are being born.

The child birth rate for women between 20 and 25 reached 12 to 14 babies per 100 women at the beginning of the 70ies. This dropped to 5 children in the first decade of the century, despite a small intermediate climb in 2004 and between 2006 and 2008.

This small increase was temporary and rather short-lived, with the child birth rate stranding at 4.2 children last year (for women between 20 and 25). This means a record low, and it is even situated below the birth rate for women between 35 and 40.

Child birth rates also dropped among women between 25 and 30 years of age, to 12.8 children per 100 women last year. This is compared to 13.6 children in 2010. A similar trend can be seen among women between 30 and 35. The child birth rate dropped from 12 children in 2010 to 11.65 children last year.

Taking these figures into account, it's no surprise that Flanders had fewer births overall last year, and this for the third consecutive year. Kind en Gezin reports 68,135 births for 2013, which is 1,311 births or 1.9 percent down on the year. Birth rates dropped in all Flemish provinces, except for Flemish Brabant.

Normann Hochheimer, Frankfurt