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Icelandic Birth Rate Never Lower

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Icelandic Birth Rate Never Lower

Women with their babies in Reykjavík

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

4,129 children were born last year in Iceland. The fertility rate was measured at 1.81 children for every woman over a lifetime—a figure which has never been lower since records began being kept in 1853.

The figures were released this week by Statistics Iceland, RÚV reports. The average fertility rate needs to be 2.1 children per woman in the long term for sustainable population levels.

The average age of first-time mothers has steadily gone up over recent decades and more and more women are waiting to start a family. From the early 1960s to 1980, the average age of first-time mothers was less than 22, but from the mid-80s it started increasing and was 27.4 years of age in 2015.

Over the last ten years, the fertility rate in Iceland has been around two children over the lifetime of each woman. In 2014, the average European fertility rate was 1.58 children per woman—lowest in Portugal, Greece and Cyprus.

In 2015, 30.1 percent of Icelandic children were born to married parents, 52 percent to cohabiting parents, and 15.3 percent to parents neither married nor in long-term relationships.

By comparison, of the 28 European Union countries, around 40 percent of children were born out of wedlock. After Iceland, the second-least-likely countries for children to be born to married parents were Bulgaria (58.3 percent), Slovenia (58.3 percent) and Sweden (54.6 percent).

At the other end of the scale, only 2.8 percent of Turkish children were born to unmarried parents and 8.2 percent of Greek children.

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