The FINANCIAL — In 2016, 5.148 million babies were born in the European Union (EU), compared with 5.103 million in 2015.
On average in the EU, women who gave birth to their first child in 2016 were 29 years old. Across Member States, first time mothers were on average the youngest in Bulgaria and the oldest in Italy.
Around 5% of births of first children in the EU in 2016 were to women aged less than 20 (teenage mothers) and around 3% to women aged 40 and over.
Among the 5.148 million births in the EU in 2016, nearly 1 in 5 (or almost 930 000) concerned a third or subsequent child.
Overall, the total fertility rate in the EU stood at 1.60 births per woman in 2016. It varied between Member States from 1.34 in both Spain and Italy to 1.92 in France.
Total fertility rate highest in France and Sweden
In 2016, France (1.92 births per woman) and Sweden (1.85) were the two Member States with the highest total fertility rates in EU. They were followed by Ireland (1.81), Denmark and the United Kingdom (both 1.79). Conversely, the lowest fertility rates were observed in Spain and Italy (both 1.34 births per woman), Portugal (1.36), Cyprus and Malta (both 1.37), Greece (1.38) and Poland (1.39).
First time mothers youngest in Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia, oldest in Italy and Spain
In 2016, the mean age of mothers at the first childbirth varied between the EU Member States. The lowest mean age for the first childbirth was recorded in Bulgaria (26.0 years), followed by Romania (26.4), Latvia (26.8), Slovakia (27.0), Poland (27.2) and Lithuania (27.3). In contrast, the mother’s age for the first childbirth was above 30 in Italy (31.0 years), Spain (30.8), Luxembourg (30.5), Greece (30.3) and Ireland (30.1).
Around 14% of first children born to teenage mothers in Bulgaria and Romania
The highest shares of births of a first child to teenage mothers (less than 20 years old) were recorded in Romania (14.2% of total births of first child in 2016), Bulgaria (13.6%) and Hungary (10.8%), ahead of Slovakia (9.9%), Lithuania (6.3%), the United Kingdom (6.2%) and Latvia (6.1%). On the other hand, the lowest shares were observed in Slovenia (1.6%), Italy (1.7%), the Netherlands (1.8%), Denmark and Sweden (both 1.9%), as well as in Luxembourg (2.2%).
In contrast, the highest proportions of births of a first child to women aged 40 and over were registered in Italy (7.2% of total births of first child in 2016), Spain (6.6%), Greece (5.3%), Luxembourg (4.8%) and Ireland (4.3%).
One out of ten births in Finland was to a mother who already had at least three children
In the EU, more than 80% (81.9%) of births were first and second children, while births of third children accounted for 12.2% of the total and fourth or subsequent children accounted for 5.9% in 2016.
Across the EU Member States, the highest share of mothers having their fourth or subsequent children was recorded in Finland (10.1%), followed by Ireland (9.0%), the United Kingdom (8.5%), Slovakia (8.1%), Romania (7.7%) and Belgium (7.6%).