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Oecogram

The Hungarian birth rate among the best in the EU

In the European Union, the total fertility rate fell from 1.53 in 2021 to 1.46 in 2022. But despite the gloomy European trends, the Hungarian figure is the sixth best with a rate of 1.56, above the EU average.

In March 2024, Eurostat published the so-called total fertility rate for 2022, which shows the number of births per woman of childbearing age (15 to 49 years). Based on this rate, Hungary had the sixth highest birth rate in the European Union in 2022.

The figure can be referenced here: https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/17499755/

In 2022, France had the highest total fertility rate in the EU (1.79 live births per woman), followed by Romania (1.71), Bulgaria (1.65), the Czech Republic (1.64), Slovakia (1.57) and Hungary (1.56). In contrast, the lowest fertility rates were found in Malta (1.08 births per woman), Spain (1.16) and Italy (1.24).

The figures show that the crises of recent years have left their mark on birth rates across Europe. As we wrote earlier on Oeconomus’ website, domestic figures at the start of the decade were still well below the EU average. The Hungarian indicator stood at 1.23 in 2011, while the EU average was 1.57. Over the past decade, the European average has stagnated or declined slightly. Meanwhile, Hungary’s figures have seen a positive turnaround since 2012, with 2018 being the first year in which the country exceeded the EU average. The upward trend continued, with the Hungarian figure reaching 1.61 in 2021, compared to 1.53 in the EU. However, the crises of recent years were reflected in both figures in 2022, with the indicator falling to 1.46 in the EU and 1.56 in Hungary. Still, the Hungarian fertility rate remains well above the EU average.

The figure can be referenced here: https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/17500008/

Overall, the countries in our region, Central and Eastern Europe, have the highest rates of childbearing. In a previous report we analysed the demographic and economic stagnation in Europe compared to other regions of the world. It is worth pointing out that years of stagnating economic performance and unfavourable demographic trends are primarily a feature of Western Europe, while Central and Eastern Europe, including Hungary, is consistently outperforming.

The total fertility rate can ensure the population is maintained if it reaches 2.1. This level is currently not achieved in any country in Europe. If the rate remains below the replacement rate for a long period, the society will gradually age, making it more difficult to finance the pension system. Conversely, if fertility is high, the process leads to overpopulation, which also puts pressure on the social care system.

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