High birth rates and more third children – development in 2021

population
High birth rates and more third children: are they Corona children?

A baby yawns on its mother's lap.  In Germany, there was a high birth rate in the second year of Corona

In 2021, about 795,500 children were born in Germany

© Westend61 / Imago Images

In 2021, the number of births in Germany increased. An increase in third children can also be observed. This raises the question of the highly cited corona babies.

Germany is experiencing a high number of births: In 2021, around 795,500 newborns were reported to the registration offices in Germany. It was the highest number of births since 1997, when 812,173 children were born in one year. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of births in 2021 increased by two percent compared to the average for the years 2018 to 2020. This raises the question: Are these the Corona babies that have been talked about over and over again?

When asked by star at the Federal Statistical Office. This requires the final data and studies. “But the pandemic probably plays a role,” says Olga Poetzsch, who is responsible for demographic analyzes and model calculations and natural population movements at the Federal Office. In February and March 2021, there was an unusual increase in births, and in October and November there were also significantly more births than the average for the previous three years. From May to July 2021, on the other hand, the number of births was slightly lower.

The German press agency quotes Martin Bujard, research director at the Federal Institute for Population Research, who sees a corona effect on work here: The two waves of births coincide nine months after the end of the first and second lockdown. There is also “a small cocooning effect,” Bujard believes: couples have spent a lot of time together, and the importance of the family has grown during the shutdowns. However, he does not want to talk about a “corona baby boom” because the increase is too small for it. Olga Poetzsch also talks about “normal annual fluctuations” of two percent.

Birth: Many families have a third child

In addition to the increase in births in the second year of Corona, the figures also show that there are more third children. Births of third children increased by 3.9 percent. In contrast, the number of first children increased by a total of only 1.2 percent, according to a statement from the Federal Statistical Office.

Poetzsch speaks of “premature births”: Families who would have planned a third child anyway, but in fact only in a few years, would have brought this pregnancy forward during the pandemic. “It is striking that this mainly affects German families and fewer foreign ones,” says Poetzsch. Further evaluations must show whether this is, for example, related to job security, the financial situation or the work and living situation during the pandemic.

The available figures also show regional differences: In western Germany, the number of births increased by 3.3 percent compared to the average for the years 2018 to 2020. In eastern Germany, on the other hand, they decreased by 5.1 percent. As one of the reasons, the Federal Office mentions the declining number of potential parents living there. In general, statisticians also make a difference between East and West when it comes to having children. “In the East, a child is usually a part of life,” Peotzsch explains. Relatively speaking, there are many more mothers here. In the West, on the other hand, the dichotomy between women who decide to have children or not is greater. If women decide to have a family and children, they would often have two or three or sometimes even four children.

A look at Italy and Spain

There are also differences when looking abroad. Particularly in southern Europe, the number of births fell sharply in some cases during the pandemic. “These countries were particularly hard hit by the pandemic,” Poetzsch said.

More data will be available for Germany during the year. The Federal Statistical Office refers to the birth rate, which is more meaningful than the number of births. The birth rate takes into account the number and age of women living in Germany. In 2020, the birth rate in Germany was 1.53 children per woman. The Federal Statistical Office does not publish this data until mid-year.

Sources: destatis.de, with material from dpa

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