At its lowest since 1945. The number of births in France fell drastically in 2020, notes the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) in his demographic report 2020 published on January 19, 2021.
Thus, 740,000 babies were born in 2020, a decrease of 1.8% in one year. And the fertility rate has fallen to 1.84 children per woman, from 1.86 in 2019, according to the institute.
A continuous decline in births
How to explain this fall? According to INSEE, it is a continuous decline in fertility which has explained a constant decrease in births for several years. The fertility rate today of 1.84 children per woman still hovered around 2 between 2006 and 2014. At the level of the European Union, France remains the champion of fertility, however, ahead of Sweden and Romania (1 , 76), then Ireland (1.75).
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Fewer new couples?
If the covid epidemic cannot explain the fall in births in 2020, it could, on the other hand, lead to a further fall in the birth rate in 2021, warns demographer Gérard-François Dumont, in an interview published on January 19 in The cross.
Indeed, some couples could, in the near future, give up having children because of “feeling of insecurity“linked to the pandemic, or its economic consequences, said this specialist.
Moreover, “We must not underestimate the impact of confinement measures and the closure of places of sociability on the formation of couples“, according to Gérard-François Dumont:”this will ultimately influence the number of births, because the future parents must first meet“.
7.3% more deaths
On the other hand, INSEE notes another fall, for its part directly linked to the covid epidemic: that of life expectancy. In 2020, it drops by almost five months for women (85.2 years) and six months for men (79.2 years).
In 2020, 658,000 people died in France from all causes, or 7.3% more than in 2019. It is this excess mortality, particularly marked during the two epidemic waves in April-May and then from October, which had a notable impact on life expectancy.
The declining births and increasing deaths ultimately resulted in a very low natural balance (the difference between the number of births and the number of deaths): 82,000 against 140,000 in 2019. According to the institute, this is the natural balance the lowest since 1945.
Less 34% of marriages
Finally, the year 2020 was also marked by a 34% collapse in the number of marriages. These celebrations were indeed prohibited during the first confinement, then authorized but with a strict limitation on the number of guests.