Eurostat News Release
In 2017, 5.075 million babies were born in the European Union (EU), compared with 5.148 million in 2016.
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.
This information comes from recently published data by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The fertility indicators presented in this news release show only a small part of the large amount of data related to demography available at Eurostat.
Total fertility rate highest in France 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).
First time mothers youngest in Bulgaria and Romania, oldest in Italy, Spain and Luxembourg
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).
In Bulgaria and Romania around 14% of first children born to teenage mothers
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%).
One out of ten births in Finland was to a mother who already had at least three children
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%).
The European Union (EU) includes Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Methods and definitions
The source of the data on fertility indicators at national level is the annual demographic data collection in the field of demography carried out by Eurostat. The full set of demographic statistics has been recently updated in the Eurostat database with data for 2017.
In this news release, births refer to live births. Live births refer to births of children that showed any sign of life. It is the number of births excluding stillbirths.
The total fertility rate is defined as the mean number of children who would be born to a woman during her lifetime, if she were to spend her childbearing years conforming to the age-specific fertility rates, which have been measured in a given year.
Issued by: Eurostat Press Office