The population women in reproductive age in Greece has entered a phase of contraction, a development that will continue and will be combined with the further reduction of the number of births.
In addition, given that, regardless of the impact of the recent pandemic, the number of deaths increases in the following due to population aging, the birth-death balance will remain negative for the next two decades. The conclusion that emerges is obvious: in the coming years, without imports of foreigners, the rates of change of the population of our country will remain strongly negative. These data are the results of research by Professor of Demography at Panteion University Christos Bagavos, and are presented in the latest digital issue of the series “FlashNews” created in the framework of ELIDEK-funded (and implemented by the ELKE of the University of Thessaly) Projects in Research and Practice in Greece “.
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Three time periods
Mr. Bagavos distinguishes three time periods, in which the evolution of fertility and births follow different paths. The first concerns 1975-1980 where, while the fertility rate decreases by 4% (from 2.33 to 2.23 children / woman) the number of births increases by 4% (from 142 to 148 thousand).
The second in the period 1990-1999 where the fertility rate decreases by 12% (from 1.39 to 1.23 children / woman), the number of births remains relatively constant (100 – 102 thousand).
The third period concerns 2013-2020, where the decrease in births by 11% is combined with a weak tendency to increase fertility, the level of which in 2020 is about 7% higher than in 2013. The decrease in the population of women of reproductive The age has started before the financial crisis and has already had a declining effect on the evolution of the number of births until today.
This decrease is a consequence on the one hand of the significant decrease of births in the 1980s (decrease of more than 30% between 1980 and 1990), and on the other hand of immigration (ie the departure of young people of reproductive age from our country in the last decade). To put it another way, as the author states, the decrease in the number of births should not be attributed only to the decrease in fertility in the period that coincides with the economic crisis as well, even if this crisis did not exist (and if we assume even though the increase in fertility rates from 2003-2008 continued into the next decade), the decrease in the number of births had not been prevented, due to the shrinking population of women aged 15-49. In particular, according to Mr. Bagavos, the decrease in births between 2008 and 2020 is due to 77% reduction in the number of women aged 15-49 and only 23% to the decline in fertility rates.
What are the prospects for the number of births in the coming years?
The results of the EUROSTAT 2019 demographic projections, which were prepared before the recent pandemic but take into account the economic crisis, show that, even if we have a positive migration balance of 260 thousand in the period 2020-2040, then again population of women of reproductive age will decrease by more than 20% resulting in unchanged fertility rates, a decrease in births by 13% between 2020 and 2030 and their stabilization (-1%) between 2030 and 2040. we do not adopt and one of the scenarios of EUROSTAT projections for fertility (increase of its indicators in the twenty years 2020-2040 by 7%), says Mr. Bagavos, then this decrease in births will simply slow down without stopping (births will decrease by 10% between 2020 and 2030 and will increase by only 2% between 2030 and 2040).
The author in the same work raises the question of whether in the coming years a further reduction in births can be avoided so that they remain around 85,000. To complete this, there is an increase in fertility rates from 1.4 children per woman in 2020 to 1.6 by 2040, a doubling of the hypothesis adopted in the 2019 EUROSTAT projections (pre-pandemic projections) . He estimates that this increase is very unlikely as the evolution of fertility indices in the past decade is likely to be affected by the pandemic and it is possible that fertility indices will move not upwards but even downwards, resulting in 2020-2040 to have even fewer births than we would have in the absence of a health crisis.
Commenting on these findings in APE-MPE, the professor of Demography and the scientific officer of the aforementioned research program Mr. Vyron Kotzamanis stated to APE-MPE that: “Given the continuing trend of decreasing population of young children Births in our country should not increase in the next two decades even if these young people decide to have more children. by their parents. Therefore, the decrease of our population due to the negative birth-death balance will be even greater in the next two decades compared to that of 2011-2020, as deaths will have an increasing tendency. And if the migration balance (inputs – outputs) continues to be negative (as in the previous decade) our population will be between 2021 and 2040 by more than 950 thousand which will be the serious advantage in this twenty years of deaths versus births… ».
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