Advancing Maternal Age Worsens Greece’s Demographic Problem



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The economic crisis in Greece has forced women to give birth at an even later age, thus aggravating the country’s serious demographic problem, new research shows.

Based on research conducted by the University of Thessaly, the average age of mothers giving birth in Greece has been much later than in most other European countries, shifting from 26.1 years in 1980 to 31.5 years in 2017.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data, in 2016 Greece had the ninth highest childbirth age among the 45 OECD states, with the mean maternal age being just over 30 years.

At the same time, a late maternal age also means a lower birth rate, since the more a woman delays giving birth, the fewer chances she has to have more than one baby. Also, conception after the age of 35 is much more difficult than at a younger age.

Previous research projects have shown that the Greek population is shrinking at an alarming rate and will be reduced significantly by 2050.

A recent report by the Greek parliament’s special scientific committee on demography showed that by 2050 Greece’s population is expected to shrink by between 800,000 and 2.5 million people.

The average fertility rate in Greece stands at 1.26 children per woman, compared with a European Union average of 1.49 percent. In order to keep the population number stable, the fertility rate should be above 2.1.

The parliament committee report also estimated that in 2050, there will be a total of 5.7 million people of the working age of 20 to 69, down from 7.1 million in 2015.

Another study conducted by the Hellenic Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology (HAGG) published in September, says that the age pyramid in Greece will change dramatically by 2050. The most significant change will probably be the transition to a much older population, resulting in shrinking of working-age Greeks.