On average, Bulgarian women have their first baby at the age of 26, making them the youngest first-time mothers in the European Union, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on March 8.
Citing figures from 2001 and 2015, Eurostat said that on average in the EU, women who gave birth to their first child in 2015 were aged nearly 29 – in fact, 28.9 years in statistical terms.
A total fertility rate of about 2.1 live births per woman is considered to be the replacement level in developed countries: in other words, the average number of live births per woman required to keep the population size constant without migration.
In Bulgaria, the fertility rate was 1.2 in the year 2001, increasing by 0.32 percentage points to 1.53 in 2015.
Eurostat said that in Bulgaria in 2001, there were 68 180 live births. In 2015, the figure was 65 950.
In 2015, 5.103 million babies were born in the EU, compared with 5.063 million in 2001 (the first year comparable statistics are available).
Among EU countries, France continued to record the highest number of births (799 700 in 2015), ahead of the United Kingdom (776 700), Germany (737 600), Italy (485 800), Spain (418 400) and Poland (369 300).
Across member states, first time mothers were oldest in Italy.
Overall, the total fertility rate in the EU increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2015.
It varied among EU countries from 1.31 in Portugal to 1.96 in France in 2015.
In 2015, France (1.96) and Ireland (1.92) were the two EU countries with total fertility rates closest to the replacement level of about 2.1. They were followed by Sweden (1.85) and the United Kingdom (1.80).
Conversely, the lowest fertility rates were observed in Portugal (1.31), Cyprus and Poland (both 1.32), Greece and Spain (both 1.33) as well as Italy (1.35).
In most EU countries, the total fertility rate rose in 2015 compared with 2001. The largest increases were observed in Latvia (from 1.22 in 2001 to 1.70 in 2015, or +0.48), the Czech Republic (+0.42), Lithuania (+0.41), Slovenia (+0.36), Bulgaria (+0.32), Romania (+0.31), Sweden (+0.28) and Estonia (+0.26).
In contrast, the highest decreases were registered in Cyprus (-0.25), Luxembourg (-0.19) and Portugal (-0.14).
For the EU as a whole, the total fertility rate increased from 1.46 in 2001 to 1.58 in 2015 (+0.12), Eurostat said.
(Photo: Niels Timmer/freeimages.com)