Birth deficit – that doesn’t sound really nice. And it leads away from reality, even if the Wiesbaden statisticians can hardly put it any other way. In fact, more children have been born in Germany every year for the last decade.
According to preliminary figures published by the Federal Statistical Office these days, there were 795,500 babies last year, more than in 25 years. There is a deficit when it comes to the number of those who die: In a country with many old people, even more children who are born does not compensate for those who leave this world. That was more than a million last year, about a quarter more.
Deficit, an unavoidable word from statistics that we should be careful not to apply to the current generation of parents. They – by no means only the immigrants – are again having more children than their own parents from the baby boomer generation.
The demographics specialist at the Wiesbaden office analyzed this in an interesting prognosis in 2018: Those born after 1970 benefited from a changed social climate, the expansion of care and financial aid for parents and a broad discussion about family-friendly politics – this has taken hold in recent years Mission statement of two working parents.
The desire to have children may be put on hold, but more and more often it is realized late, even after the mother’s 40th birthday. The women born in the 1980s would probably have even more children.
In other words, those who can work and who are lucky enough to have children don’t forget training, a job and later pensions – which, when there are two parents, always means a division of labor at home – is more willing to get them than those who do that with parenthood have to fear the end of a self-determined life. And that’s the women.
Incidentally, figures from Italy, which together with Germany have long been at the bottom of the global birth statistics, also testify to this: In the north of Italy, where women find insured work, considerably more children are born than in the supposedly traditional and pious, but poor south.
Why do you think we women of the baby boom cohorts from 1950 to 1970 had so many fewer children? Perhaps because we had learned a lot from our own mothers that made having children little fun: we knew about unwanted third and fourth pregnancies, the termination of which was even more dangerous than today or impossible, both socially and practically. About professional dreams that burst because one of us was born and ultimately wasn’t allowed to grow up as a regrettable “latchkey child”, with a working mom, i.e. without a warm lunch.
And poverty in old age, if the woman was foolhardy enough to get a divorce and renounce lifelong economic dependency on her husband. Not to mention what it meant for quite a few of us to be raised by frustrated mothers who wished we had a place out in the (men’s) world rather than just around the stove.