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Press Release 28/02/2018


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Women born between 1951 and 1970 did not achieve generational replacement

The average age of emancipated children went from 26.8 in 1990 to 29.7 in 2016

Women born in the second half of the 40s were the last generation to achieve generational replacement, that is, they had an average of 2.1 children, according to Eustat data. The total fertility rate of subsequent generations of women descended to 1.4 children for women born between 1971 and 1975, the last in terms of those whose fertility cycle can be considered complete.

In almost all European countries a general decrease has been observed in the total fertility rate of women born from 1940, where it has not reached the generational replacement of generations born at the end of the 60s, except in countries with very ambitious family policies, such as France, Norway and Sweden. The total fertility rate of women born in 1960 (1.51 children per mother) was below that for the same generation in Germany and Italy, where it was 1.66.

Graph 1: Total fertility rate and average maternity age of generations from 1915 to 1975
Source: Eustat. Demographic survey. 2016

The average age of maternity for the last generations was similar to that of the oldest, those that were aged 75 and over, but for this last case it was due to the third and subsequent children representing almost 40% of the total, whereas amongst women aged between 40 and 50 in 2016 third or subsequent children scarcely accounted for 8%. In the most recent generations, the average age at the birth of the most recent child was around 31 and in the older generations it was 28.

The total fertility rate of the generations of women under the age of 40 in 2011 does not appear as though it is going to recuperate, given that the number of children that they hope to have over their lives, according to what they have stated, scarcely reaches an average of 1.3, with those born between 1996 and 2000 standing out for predicting that they would only have an average of 1 child.

The intensity of fertility within married couples has declined more dramatically, with couples who married before 1970 having an average of 2.5 children, whilst the number for those married between 1991 and 1995 was scarcely 1.5. It should be added that births outside marriage greatly increased: from 5% in women who in 2016 were aged 70 or over to 33% in those who were between the ages of 35 and 40 on the same date.

The marriage rate of the generations was down

Amongst men, the lowest percentage of unmarried men (4%) was observed in those born between 1926 and 1930; amongst women it was in the generations born in the subsequent five years 1931-35. From then on this percentage has increased, reaching 28% in males and 21% in women, in the last generations whose marriage cycle can be considered complete, that is, those born from 1971 to 1975.

This does not mean that the number of unmarried couples has diminished, given that from the generations born between 1971 and 1975 who live as a couple, 15% do so in civil partnerships, whereas this figure for those born 20 years previously was 2%. It is also worth mentioning that the fertility of civil partnerships is quite low, given that in 2016 only 54% had children, with the average number of children standing at less than 1.

The average age of marriage for men has increased from 28.1 in the generations born during the Civil war to 31.7 in those born between 1971 and 1975; however, generations born before 1936 also presented higher average ages, around 30. Amongst women, the average age at marriage revealed its highest level for those born between 1971 and 1975, 29.7, which was almost one year older than those who were born in the preceding five years; in previous generations, the average age at marriage of women did not exceed 27.

In recent years, the average age of children who have left the family home has constantly increased, standing at 30 in 2016 when in 1990 it scarcely reached 25. Traditionally, the main reason for emancipation of young people was marriage; between 1986 and 1995 66% did so for this reason and ten years previously this figure stood at 74%, but between 2006 and 2016 23% left the family home to form a civil partnership and only 25% to get married.

For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Basque Statistics Institute C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: servicioprensa@eustat.eus Tel: 945 01 75 62

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Women born between 1951 and 1970 did not achieve generational replacement

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