Crisi demografica

Births at their lowest since 1946: the demographic crisis has arrived in France

The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee) announced that around 678,000 children were born in France in 2023, recording a decrease of 48,000 compared to the previous year and the lowest number since 1946.
The decrease in births is not a news, with a steady decline occurring from 2010, when 832,799 children were born, through 2023, an accelerated decline of 6.6%.
Despite this, the French population has seen a slight annual increase, mainly due to fewer deaths.
In 2023, 631,000 people died in France, a decrease of 6.5% compared to the previous year, influenced by events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, heat waves and a winter flu epidemic.
With fewer deaths and the addition of 183,000 new residents through migration, France's population reached 68.4 million at the start of 2024, an increase of 0.3% from the previous year.
The National Institute of Demographic Studies (Ined) predicts a possible increase in births in the coming years, as the generation born in the last demographic boom of 2000-2010 begins to have children.
However, it is unclear when and how much fertility will increase.
The current average fertility rate is 1.68 children per woman, down from 1.79 in 2022, 1.89 in 2003 and 1.99 in 2013.
The average age of mothers has risen steadily, reaching 31 years, and in 2020, women giving birth for the first time were on average almost 29 years old.
Several factors contribute to this decline in births.
Demographic experts cite anxiety about employment, the cost of living, climate change and other crises as possible reasons discouraging people from reproducing.
Furthermore, French society is reconsidering women's traditional roles and rights, with an increase in women choosing not to have children.
Population aging is a common trend across the European Union, with France still seeing a smaller decline in births than many of its neighbors.
Life expectancy in France is now 85.7 years for women and 80 for men, the highest level ever reached for both categories.
With post-war baby boomers reaching 70, the proportion of elderly people in the French population is higher than ever, with 21.5% of residents aged 65 or older and 10.4% aged over 75 years.
This situation places France in line with the European Union average, where 21.1% of the population was over 65 in 2022, a figure expected to rise to 31.3% over the next 80 years.
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