Birthrates in Greece reduced by 10 pct during debt crisis

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-9-14 15:12:37

Birthrates in Greece have been reduced by 10 percent since the start of the debt crisis in 2009, according to data released by the Greek Health Ministry.

As Greeks suffer from harsh austerity and recession, parenthood is postponed for the future, under better financial conditions, or cancelled outright.

According to the official data released on Friday, in 2008 the number of childbirths in the country stood at 118,302. Ever since there has been a steady decline and in 2012 the number fell to 100,980 births.

Even though Greece reported low fertility rates in recent years, even during the times of prosperity before the economic crisis due to a change in values with reduced interest in marriage and children, the latest reduction is attributed to the negative economic climate in a major degree.

As social benefits to support motherhood have been slashed in the context of measures to counter the crisis and couples face pay cuts, tax hikes, unemployment and uncertainty, low birthrates are on the rise.

Experts warn that the demographic decline leads to a vicious circle and worse financial problems in the future due to an aging population, shrinking work force and reduced taxpayer's base.

The number of children needed to sustain a steady population - and subsequently a healthy economy - in developed countries has been estimated to about 2.1 per woman. Currently the rate in Greece is about 1.3 and declining.

Without a strong economy to compensate for fading demographics and support the welfare system, Greece faces the specter of similar or worse crises in the future, if it does not invest in families to reverse the trend, according to scientists.

Posted in: Europe

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