Spain’s Fertility Rate at Risk

Spain is ranked as one of the European countries with the lowest birth rate as it faces economical struggles in the wake of the crisis. According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, with Spain’s birth rate declining considerably, the government is cutting child benefits and families are delaying having children due to the economy’s instability.

A recent study presented in the article demonstrates that between 1941 and 2010 Spain only had 38 million births. This number portrays the low fertility rate that Spain is deficient of. Paul Wallace, a British economist has examined the causes and effects of population drop and the one that stands out the most is the evolution of the role of women in the Spanish society.

” Personally, having children is not part of the plan for now as my husband and I work full time and we are just not ready for this kind of commitment,” says Andrea Villanueva.

Women went from housewives and mothers during the Franco rule to single, working ones. Having children is just not part of their main priorities anymore. Also, due to the damage following the economic crisis, women started participating to the professional life in order to help support the family’s demand. Based on studies found by El Pais, this has been one of the main factors in the plummeting of birth rate in developed societies. Thus, women devote less time to forming a family and focus more on their professional careers, and do not want to risk that by getting pregnant.

“I don’t want to get pregnant and then lose my job or get replaced by someone who has freer time than me. I’m really good at my job and I love what I do so i don’t want to risk it,” explains Villanueva.

Another factor that comes into play in Spain’ birth rate decline is families’ expense. Spain has one of the most expensive housing markets in the world. Therefore, in Spanish tradition, getting married and having a family means spending half of the family income in the purchase of a house. Also, the percentage of young people between 25 and 29, who are unemployed or holding an unstable job, still living at the parent’s house goes above 60 percent compared to other European countries such as Germany, France or Britain that reaches below 20 percent.

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