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Icelandic Birthrate Slowing

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Icelandic Birthrate Slowing

Women with their babies in Reykjavík

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The fertility rate of Icelandic women is lower than ever and fewer children were born in Iceland last year than the year before. New figures from Statistics Iceland also reveal that the average age of first-time mothers continues to rise, and is now 27.7 years.

Last year, 4,034 babies were born in Iceland: 2,042 boys and 1,992 girls. This compares to 4,129 births in 2015, RÚV reported.

The most common measure of national fertility is the number of live-born children in the life of each woman—a number which should be around 2.1 children for long-term population stability, according to Statistics Iceland. Icelandic fertility rates last year were at 1.75 children per woman and have never been lower since records began, in 1853.

The fertility rate in Iceland has been around two children per woman for the last decade or so and is among the highest rates in Europe. The rate in France in 2015 was 2.14 children per woman, but in all other European nations, it was under two. It was 1.81 that year in Iceland.

The European fertility rates have been lowest in southern Europe over recent years, including in Portugal, Cyprus and Greece—where it was 1.3 children per woman.

One of the most remarkable things about fertility in Iceland is the rapid increase in the age of first-time mothers, which was under 22 year of age back in the 80s but has increased to 27.7 years today.

The most common age for women to have children in Iceland is 25-29 years of age. In Europe, this average age is lowest in Bulgaria, at 26, and highest in Italy, at 30.8.

Childbirth out of wedlock is the most common in Iceland and least common in Turkey, where it hardly happens at all.

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