Births in Germany jump 10% in March to reach their highest level in 23 years – Global Banking & Finance Review

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany continued to counter the global trend in lower birth rates during the coronavirus pandemic, reporting a 10% jump in March to the highest figure since 1998, a the Statistics Office announced on Tuesday.

Germany had already reported a 6% increase in births in February. The number of births in March stood at 65,903, around 5,900 more than a year ago and this is the first time the figure of 65,000 has been exceeded since 1998, the Office of statistics.

The increase comes nine months after the first wave of coronavirus began to ebb in Germany in May last year and the first lockdown measures were relaxed.

The Statistics Office said birth rates stabilized in countries like Spain, France or Belgium that were hit hardest by the first wave of the coronavirus, while they also jumped in March in other European countries, especially in the East.

Many countries saw their birth rates plummet during the COVID-19 crisis, sparking national introspection: Chinese births fell 18% last year to their lowest since 1961, and the U.S. birth rate fell by 4% at its lowest since 1979.

In Germany, births in 2020 were down only 0.6% and were flat in January, suggesting that the first coronavirus lockdown had minimal impact on fertility decisions.

Population experts attributed the German exception to family-friendly policies and higher migration as well as the country’s readiness to assure people that they would be paid by the state if they could not. work during locking.

Europe’s largest economy had one of the lowest fertility rates in the region, as conservative social standards and policies prevented women from reconciling family and work, exacerbating the labor shortage in Germany at the time. as baby boomers retire.

This started to change when Chancellor Angela Merkel extended parental allowances and state investments in childcare from 2005. Her 2015 decision to take in over a million young refugees, for most from Syria and elsewhere, gave new impetus.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Philippa Fletcher edition)

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