Over 5.1 million babies born in EU, most of them in France
Among Member States, France continued to record the highest number of births (819,00 in 2014), ahead of the United Kingdom (775,900), Germany (714,900), Italy (502,600), Spain (426,100) and Poland (375,200).
On average in the EU, women who gave birth to their first child in 2014 were aged nearly 29 (28.8 years). Across Member States, first time mothers were the youngest in Bulgaria and the oldest in Italy.
Overall, the fertility rate in the EU increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2014. It varied between Member States from 1.23 in Portugal to 2.01 in France in 2014.
A total fertility rate of around 2.1 live births per woman is considered to be the replacement level in developed countries: in other words, the average number of live births per woman required to keep the population size constant in the absence of inward or outward migration.
In 2014, France (2.01) was the only Member State with a fertility rate above 2.0. It was followed by Ireland (1.94), Sweden (1.88) and the United Kingdom (1.81).
Conversely, the lowest fertility rate wase observed in Portugal (1.23), ahead of Greece (1.30), Cyprus (1.31), Spain and Poland (both 1.32), Italy and Slovakia (both 1.37).
In most Member States, the fertility rate rose in 2014 compared with 2001. The largest increases were observed in Latvia (from 1.22 in 2001 to 1.65 in 2014, or +0.43), the Czech Republic (+0.38), Slovenia (+0.37), Lithuania (+0.34), Bulgaria (+0.32) and Sweden (+0.31).
In contrast, the highest decreases were registered in Cyprus (-0.26), Portugal (-0.22) and Luxembourg (-0.16). For EU as a whole, the fertility rate increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2014 (+0.12). ■