Fertility Decline among Young Adults in the Belgian Regions, 2010-2017

Edwin Pelfrene , Statistics Flanders, Government of Flanders
Martine Corijn, Statistics Flanders, Government of Flanders
Jan Pickery, Statistics Flanders, Government of Flanders
Ingrid Schockaert, Statistics Flanders, Government of Flanders

Between 2010 and 2017, a drop in the number of live births was observed in Belgium (8% decline and its regions (BRU: -5%; FLA: -8%; WAL: -9%). This is reflected in a clear decline of the (period) total fertility rate: TFR for Belgium goes down from 1.85 in 2010 to 1.64 in 2017. In the regions, parallel drops are signalled (BRU: 2.03 and 1.80; FLA: 1.81 and 1.62; WAL: 1.85 and 1.63). A steady rise in the mean age of the mother at childbirth was also observed. For Belgium, this goes from 29.8 years in 2010 to 30.6 years in 2017, which reflects the evolution in each of the regions (BRU: 30.7 and 31.7; FLA: 29.7 and 30.5 years; WAL: 29.5 and 30.4). A closer look reveals that this rise is particularly explained by a drop of the fertility rates at younger ages. A focus on the recent evolution of TFR within broad nationality groups of the mothers shows that the drop in TFR is highest within Belgian and Non-EU nationals, whereas it remains more limited in Other EU-nationals. Likewise, a drop in TFR was observed in High and Medium educational groups in FLA. It is concluded that the economy does not explain everything of the recent fertility decline among young adults. The postponed timing of new household formations is possibly key. A further contraction of the childbearing period, particularly among the higher educated women, in the age span 30 to 39 years is expected.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course