The Dutch Decline. Fewer Women Want Children.

Result: Credit: Pinterest/the rinky-DINK life

A RECENT study has shown that in 2023, fewer women than ever in the Netherlands are choosing to have children.

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reported on Wednesday, December 6, that the fertility rate, which is the number of children born per woman during her fertility period, is at an all time low in the Netherlands. Fewer children are born per woman, but the number of children per mother remains the same, meaning that more women remain childless.

The Netherlands’ fertility rate has been steadily declining since 2010 and has now reached a record low of 1.49 children per woman. 

The Dutch statistics office stressed that there is not a clear reason for the falling fertility rate in the country. “It appears to be an interplay of different patterns”, adding that the declining fertility rate is not unique to the Netherlands as most European countries show similar developments.

Spain’s National Office of Statistics (INE), has recently revealed that the country has the second lowest birth rate in Europe. Data collected by the INE states that just 330,000 babies were born in the country last year, the lowest rate recorded since the agency opened in 1941. The country’s birth rate began to decline in 2016 and has continued to drop every year since.

The fertility rate is a strong indicator of how a country’s population will develop. A country needs a fertility rate of 2.1 to maintain a stable population. So why is the fertility rate steadily declining in Europe? Perhaps due to economic factors, the rising cost of living, as well as the low percentage of married women in their child bearing years. Euro Weekly News spoke to French resident Olivia Hill, aged 32, who explained that she “feels like my life is just beginning! In a good and a bad way, I want to travel and see the world but also I have only just paid off my student loan and can just afford a one bedroom flat, how could I raise a child?” Amelia Olsen, an American woman currently living in the UK declared to EWN that the decline was due to “men not wanting to settle down anymore”, she says that apps like Tinder mean more men want to “mess around most of their life rather than look after a woman and start a family.” 

Whatever the reason, numbers don’t lie, and Europe could find itself with an ageing population pretty soon if this pattern does not change.  

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Written by

Jennifer Popplewell

Jennifer is a proud northerner from Sheffield, England, who is currently living in Spain. She loves swimming in rivers, talking to the stars and eating luxurious chocolate.