In the corona pandemic there is a significant jump in the German birth statistics. Calculated per woman, the number of newborns has increased for the first time since 2017. The statisticians attribute this to the circumstances during the lockdown. But when they have a question, they are puzzled.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, 795,492 newborns were born last year, around 22,000 more babies than in the previous year. In 2021, the combined birth rate rose for the first time since 2017, the authority said. While 1.53 children were born per woman in 2020, the birth rate last year was 1.58 children per woman.
The relatively stable situation on the labor market in connection with the special situation of the corona pandemic at the time of conception is said to have contributed to this increase. Can one already speak of a baby boom in the pandemic?
"It is definitely a clear, strong increase," said a spokeswoman for the Federal Statistical Office. Since the increase is mainly due to births in the first and fourth quarters, the reasons are likely to be complex: "For births in the first quarter, the time of conception is in the first lockdown, when people were still optimistic that Corona would soon be over. " Thanks to short-time work benefits and subsidies, the economic situation of many people was also safer. Since the newborns were mainly other children of married parents, the lockdown was probably used for family planning.
The rise in births in the fourth quarter of 2021 is more of a mystery to statisticians. Because the time of conception was in a “rather difficult time”: the autumn lockdown of 2020 was not over yet, the wait for a vaccination continued. "We still have too little data on which families are affected," said the Federal Statistical Office.
The microcensus that is currently being carried out could provide new insights. "Many questions are still open." The results of the microcensus will not be published until next year. The birth rate rose above all in the western federal states - the strongest in Baden-Württemberg with an increase of five percent, followed by Bavaria and Hesse with four percent each.
In the eastern German federal states, the increase in the birth rate was only one to two percent, in Thuringia and Saxony it even fell slightly. The highest birth rate was measured in Lower Saxony in 2021 with 1.66 children per woman. It was lowest in Berlin at 1.39.
Among women with German citizenship, the birth rate was 1.49 children per woman last year, significantly higher than in 2020. At that time, 1.43 children were born per woman. Among women with foreign citizenship, the birth rate remained almost unchanged at 2.01 children per woman. In the case of the woman's first-born child, the average age of the mothers last year was 30.5 years, and the average age of the father was 33.3 years. Irrespective of this, mothers were on average 31.8 years old when giving birth in 2021 - fathers 34.7.