07 December 2023, by Emily Proctor

The fertility rate in the Netherlands has fallen, as fewer women are choosing to have children. According to new figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the country’s fertility rate has fallen to 1,49 children per woman – the lowest ever recorded in the Netherlands. 

Number of children per mother remains the same, but more women are childless

The data shows that the number of children per mother in the Netherlands remains the same as in previous years, but more women are choosing to remain childless. The number of children per woman in the Netherlands now stands at 1,49, while back in 1981, this number stood higher at 1,73. 

The main changes in the Dutch birth rate are dictated by education levels, according to the study. The CBS says that women who have a lower level of education are seeing a sharper decline in the birth rate, likely due to the fact that they have a weaker socioeconomic status than highly educated women. This means that they are less likely to be able to afford to have children, and therefore are choosing not to give birth

Netherlands is not the only European country with a declining birth rate

Though the new figures show a record low in the Dutch birth rate, the country is not on its own in experiencing these issues. Speaking of the figures, Statistics Netherlands noted “It appears to be an interplay of different patterns,” adding that many other European countries are currently seeing the same trends. 

In order to maintain a stable population, the OECD says that a fertility rate of 2,1 children per woman allows for there to be a balance between younger, working people and older, non-working individuals. If the fertility rate falls too low, the average age of a population increases, and there can be damaging economic and demographic effects. 

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