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Relatively few births were recorded in recent years, with annual totals at around 170 thousand. Based on currently available data, it is estimated that there will be almost 10 thousand more live births in all of 2021. This means that, after a downward trend since the turn of the century, the number of births is clearly increasing.

Live births
1981 178.6
1982 172.1
1983 170.2
1984 174.4
1985 178.1
1986 184.5
1987 186.7
1988 186.6
1989 189
1990 198
1991 198.7
1992 196.7
1993 195.7
1994 195.6
1995 190.5
1996 189.5
1997 192.4
1998 199.4
1999 200.4
2000 206.6
2001 202.6
2002 202.1
2003 200.3
2004 194
2005 187.9
2006 185.1
2007 181.3
2008 184.6
2009 184.9
2010 184.4
2011 180.1
2012 176
2013 171.3
2014 175.2
2015 170.5
2016 172.5
2017 169.8
2018 168.5
2019 169.7
2020 168.7
20211) 179.8
1) estimate

Increase primarily among people in their thirties

In the first nine months of 2021, the year-on-year birth rate increase was especially seen among people in their thirties. In 2020, 127 children were born per thousand women aged 30-34; in 2021 this number is expected to reach 135. Women aged 25-29 also had more babies in 2021. A declining trend instead was recorded as of 2010 among women aged 25-34.
On the other hand, women under 25 had fewer babies, i.e. the previous decline in births continued in this age group.

Live births per thousand women
20-24 yrs 21.29 20.01 18.44 17.85
25-29 yrs 83.62 81.43 78.58 82.49
30-34 yrs 128.25 127.61 126.76 135.05
35-39 yrs 67.68 68.92 68.65 74.17
40 yrs and over 6.67 7.09 7.37 7.62
1)estimate

Not only more first-borns

Based on the first nine months of this year, the number of first-born children per thousand women aged 15-49 is estimated at slightly under 22, against slightly over 20 first-born children in this group last year. Especially women aged 30-34 had more first-born children.
Not only the total number of first-borns was up year-on-year, there were also more second-borns and third-borns. Relatively the largest increase was in third-borns.

Live births per thousand women (15-49 yrs)
1st child 20.08 20.51 20.4 21.7
2nd child 16.41 16.27 16.33 17.45
3rd child 5.91 5.9 5.74 6.2
4th and consecutive 2.39 2.39 2.38 2.47
1)estimate

Increasing birth rate a European exception

Provisional figures on 2021 are available from a number of European countries up to the month of August. In most of these countries, the total number of live births was either roughly equal to or lower than one year previously. Only in Finland were there clearly more live births year-on-year, just as in the Netherlands. Unlike in the Netherlands, however, the number of births in that country was already up on one year previously in 2020.

Several European countries including Spain and France recorded strong declines at the beginning of this year. Birth rates increased again in most European countries over the months of February, March and April. The birth rate over all months up to August inclusive still lags behind the previous year in some countries. Sweden and Germany, for example, have seen birth rates go up again after initial declines at the beginning of the year.

Live births, January-August inclusive1)
Finland 6.5 2.7
Netherlands 5 -0.6
Germany 1.1 -0.3
Sweden 0.7 -1.2
France -1.9 -1.5
Spain -3.4 -3.4
1) Germany: January-July incl.
* Provisional figures

Source of original article: Statistics Netherlands (CBS) (www.cbs.nl).
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