Again more births in Germany: where children are not everything, there are more of them – meaning

© Waltraud Grubitzsch / pa-dpa

Andrea Dernbach

The children of baby boomers are having more children again. Maybe because no one should start a “traditional family” anymore? A baby boom is looking back.

Birth deficit – it does not sound very nice. And that leads away from reality, though Wiesbaden statisticians can hardly say otherwise. In fact, more children have been born in Germany each year in the last decade.

According to preliminary figures released by the Federal Statistical Office these days, there were 795,500 babies last year, more than in 25 years. There is a deficit when it comes to the number of those who die: In a country with many old people, even more children being born do not compensate for those who leave this world. That was more than a million last year, about a quarter more.

Deficit, an inevitable word from the statistics, which we must be careful not to apply to the current generation of parents. They – by no means just the immigrants – again get more children than their own parents from the baby boomer generation.

If you have a job, you can have children

In an interesting forecast This was analyzed in 2018 by the demography specialist at the Wiesbaden office: Those born after 1970 benefited from a changed social climate, the expansion of care and financial assistance to parents and a broad discussion on family-friendly policy – in recent years the model of two working parents has triumphed through.

The desire to have children can be put on hold, but more and more often it is realized late, even after the mother’s 40th birthday. Women born in the 1980s are likely to have even more children, according to the forecast.

In other words, those who can work and who are lucky enough to have children do not forget education, jobs and later pensions – which always means a division of labor at home for a couple – are more willing to have them than those who do . who with parenthood must fear the end of a self-determined life. And it’s the women.

This is also evidenced by figures from Italy, which together with Germany have long been at the bottom of the global birth statistics: In northern Italy, where women and men find insured work, significantly more children are born than in the supposedly traditional and pious, but poor south.

Why do you think we women in the baby boom cohorts from 1950 to 1970 had so many fewer children? Maybe because we had learned a lot from our own mothers who made it a little fun to have children: We knew of unwanted third and fourth pregnancies whose interruption was even more dangerous than today or impossible, both socially and practically. About career dreams that burst because one of us was born and ultimately was not allowed to grow up as a regrettable “lock key”. working motherthat is, without a hot lunch.

For decades, wives were second-class citizens

And poverty in old age, if one was foolhardy enough to get divorced and give up lifelong financial dependence on her husband. Not to mention what it meant for many of us to be brought up by frustrated mothers who wished we had a place outside in the (men’s) world rather than just around the stove.

Of course, there were also women who were happy with this role. The crucial thing was that they had no choice. Anyone wishing to marry, at least in West Germany, had their civil rights revoked by marriage certificate: For decades, wives were not allowed to work without the consent of their husbands, nor were they allowed to decide on the equal rights of their children.

“Men and women have equal rights” – the hard-fought Article 3, Article 2 of the Constitution did not apply to wives for a long time. The American historian Elizabeth D. Heineman wrote a very revealing book about the inferior status of wives in Nazi Germany and after – long after: What Difference Does a Husband Make?

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This is what an entire generation of women knew or suspected about getting married and having children. It was – and in some cases still is today – the “traditional family”, which of course does not have children with two fathers or two mothers. And an alarmingly large number of people seem to want to return, which – at least – can be seen in the percentage of the party’s voters who explicitly have it in their program. Let’s be glad that our children, the current parents, do not have any of that under their skin anymore. birth deficit? Socially, we are more in the plus!

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