The economic crisis in Europe is worse than it appears, according to economic researchers. The financial issue the continent is facing today proves to have effects on its population money-wise and the development of families. Demographers in the fertility field study the amount of offspring women in an ethnic population or continent are expected to have in their lifetime. Demographers are finding that Europe’s recession led to a birth rate decline. In an unnoticed decade of events, women are not bearing the average number of children expected in Europe.
The economic recession that has spread across Europe corresponds with the fertility rate decline. In 2008, demographers’ surveys displayed broad gaps in Europe’s birth rate. In 2011, 11 out of 15 countries reported a fall in their population’s fertility rates. Officials observe that countries hit hardest by the recession have greater drops in their fertility rates than countries that are less affected; Spain is a country severely affected by the recession. In 2011, officials saw that Spain’s 1.46 birth rate figures fell to 1.38. Norway and Hungary experienced similar figures to Spain. In comparison to other nations, this is a large drop in fertility figures. The Institute of Demography in Vienna, Austria observes that Austria’s steady fertility rate since 1998 fell when the recession hit in 2008. As the recession worsens, there continues to be a decrease in fertility rate figures for several countries.
Adam Smith, a demographer, explains that the insecure economy is the reason why fertility speed is declining. He believes that couples choose to have fewer children because it will allow them to save. Yet, others argue that recessions increase births because tuition and other costs for children are lowered; this encourages women to have children. Furthermore, the children will reach an age to provide for the entire family. Nevertheless, both agree that there is a connection with hard times and the birth rate. Mr. Wind agrees that the economic downfall does have an impact on the fertility rate. “It costs a lot of money to have a child; not having children will allow couples to save. Historically, however, a bad economy leads to an increase in children. During the Great Depression, families put kids to work at all ages,” Mr. Wind clarifies.
The recession impacts marriage rates as well as the birth rates of the entire continent. There is a strong link between forming a family and the economy. Young couples who plan on marriage wait until they have a secure income but, are never positive because of the unstable economy. France Prioux, a demographer in France, observed “unemployment against couples forming a union,” which included marriage as well as cohabitation. For over twenty years of researching, Prioux presents a mirror image result. Based on the information, demographers find that the formation of a family is closely linked to employment and the economy.
Currently, there is a strong urgency to solve the economic crisis. Mr. Wind says, “There are two things: if the recession does not end, then the economy will collapse. The Great Depression had a great impact on the world. With the global economy, not one country is affected, many countries are.” The longer the recession lasts, the more countries will be affected by it. “Recessions are always difficult because it takes years to know whether or not solutions are working. People are not going to have children until they feel economically secure enough,” Mr. Wind explains.