New figures from Germany’s Federal Statistics Office reveal that a total of 778,100 babies were born in Germany in 2019. The figure stands at its lowest since 2015, which saw 737,575 babies being born.
German mothers are also having their first child later in life than ever before.
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State by state
The birth rate, which now stands at 1.54 children per woman, has decreased in 14 states, remaining the same as the previous year only in Bavaria and Bremen.
In Bremen and Lower Saxony, the birth rate was the highest at 1.60 children per woman. Berlin has the lowest birth rate with 1.41 children per woman.
In 2016 the number of children born in Germany was at its highest level in four decades, largely owing to a dramatic rise in the birth rate among women living in the country who did not hold German citizenship.
Between 2018 and 2019 the birth rate for women of foreign nationality fell from 2.12 to 2.06 children, perhaps contributing to the larger decrease in overall births. The birth rate for women of German nationality remained largely the same.
Women in Germany are having their first child older than ever
The statistics showed that women in Germany are having their first child later in life. A decade earlier, the average age of mothers at the birth of their first child was 28.8 years old.
In 2019 mothers across Germany were 30.1 years old on average at the age of their first child, and 33.2 when their third child was born. In Hamburg, mothers were the oldest at the birth of their first child, or 31.2 years of age on average, and the youngest in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt at 28.9 years of age on average.
How does Germany compare to the rest of the EU?
In 2018 Germany ranked only slightly higher than the EU average for total fertility rate. The German rate was 1.57 children per woman, ranking 13th in the EU.
Mothers in Germany ranked as the ninth oldest within an EU wide comparison. The oldest mothers are in Italy, giving birth to their first child at an average of 31.2 years. The youngest are in Bulgaria, having their first child at an average of 26.2 years.
Rising birth rates in Germany are good news for the country, as Destatis' population projections see the ratio of working-age people to over-65s falling to just two to one by 2060, compared with around three to one in 2015.
The Bundesbank central bank warned in 2017 that a wave of retirement among the post-war baby boomer generation could begin sapping economic growth from the middle of next decade, as there will be fewer young workers to replace them.