More babies born in Germany in 2018 - and more older mothers

More babies born in Germany in 2018 - and more older mothers

More babies born in Germany in 2018 - and more older mothers

After several years of booming, 2018 brought in another bumper crop of babies: 787.500 children were born in Germany last year, 2.600 more than in the year before. The rising birth rate among women aged 40 and above was especially striking. 

Germany’s new baby boom

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reports that 787.500 babies were born in Germany in 2018, a small increase on the year before and just shy of 2016’s record 792.131 births. The birth rate remained stable at 1,57 children per woman, slightly down from the high of 1,59 reached in 2016 but still a considerable improvement on 2015’s 1,50. A birth rate of 2,1 is generally considered to be the level at which a country’s population can replace itself with each new generation.

Particularly noteworthy in 2018 was the rise in the number of women aged 40 or over when giving birth. In total, 42.800 babies were born last year to older mothers. Although the birth rate among this age group is relatively low (88 children per thousand women), the number has almost quadrupled since 1990. 

Which German states are the most fertile?

Fertility was highest in the federal states Lower Saxony and Brandenburg, which each had a birth rate of 1,62 children per woman in 2018. With the exception of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, the rate was also relatively high in the other eastern federal states and in North-Rhine Westphalia. The birth rate was particularly low in Berlin (1,45 children per woman), Saarland (1,47) and Hamburg (1,49). 

When measured by population, however, Germany’s city-states came out on top. This is largely due to the fact that these states are generally home to a much younger population, providing plenty of potential parents. Looking at the number of children born per 1.000 inhabitants, therefore, provides a different picture, putting Hamburg (12 children per 1.000), Berlin (11) and Bremen (11) as the most fertile states. States with older populations, unsurprisingly, had fewer babies.   

Birth rate in Germany recovering

Historically, Germany has struggled with low birth rates since the 1970s. By the 1980s it had one of the lowest birth rates in the whole world, sparking fears that the country’s rapidly ageing population would stifle economic growth. 

In recent years, however, the birth rate has staged a remarkable recovery, fuelled by unprecedented levels of immigration as well as a whole host of child-friendly measures. With generous maternity benefits, child benefits and parental allowances supporting them, more and more families in Germany are being encouraged to have children.

birth rate Germany 1950 - 2018

Birth-rate in Germany, 1950 - 2018 for the whole country, new (eastern) federal states (Neue Länder) and old (western) federal states (Früheres Bundesgebiet).



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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