Canada’s fertility rate in 2022 is lowest on record, Statistics Canada reports

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Canada’s total fertility rate fell to its lowest level in more than a century of data in 2022, reaching just 1.33 children per woman, Statistics Canada announced Wednesday.

The 7.4 percent drop in the rate between 2021 and 2022, the agency said, is the steepest decline since the 7.6 percent drop from 1971 to 1972, which took place at the height of the baby boom crisis after the baby boom of 1946-1965.

The 1971-1972 decline also occurred three years after Parliament passed a law legalizing the birth control pill and therapeutic abortion.

The downward trend in fertility rates has affected all provinces to varying degrees. Fertility rates were highest in Saskatchewan (1.69), Quebec (1.49) and Alberta (1.45) and lowest in British Columbia (1.11), Nova Scotia ( 1.18), Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island, which both recorded a rate of 1.22.

Statistics Canada said the downward trend from 2020 to 2022 — an initial decline, then an increase, followed by a second decline — is similar to what many other countries have experienced, “suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic COVID-19 may have temporarily disrupted fertility behaviors around the world. world.

While all G7 countries except the United States recorded a decline in their fertility in 2022 (the U.S. rate actually increased slightly to 1.67), Canada’s decline was l “one of the largest among high-income countries,” Statistics Canada said.

Despite this decline, Canada’s fertility rate was still higher in 2022 than the rates of South Korea (0.78), Spain (1.16), Italy (1.24) and from Japan (1.26).

Comparable countries with higher fertility rates include France (1.8), the United Kingdom (1.52) and Germany (1.46).

The impact of COVID-19

Canada’s fertility rate has been declining since 2009.

Statistics Canada said the five lowest annual fertility rates in Canada were recorded over the past five years: 2022 (1.33), 2020 (1.41), 2021 (1.44), 2019 ( 1.47) and 2018 (1.51).

The average age of mothers at childbirth also changed significantly between 1976 (then it was 26.7 years) and 2022, when it reached an average of 31.6 years.

“Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a period of public health crisis as well as economic and societal shocks, it is possible that a segment of the population responded to this period of widespread uncertainty by choosing to procreate “, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday.

Early in the pandemic, women of childbearing age delayed or abandoned plans to have children due to illness, while couples who were living apart may have had more difficulty planning a pregnancy, the agency said.

Statistics Canada said pandemic-related travel restrictions and lockdowns have also affected fertility rates by causing people to delay marriages and reducing social contacts, making it harder for young adults to find a job. partner.

The agency also said health concerns, increased stress and mental illness brought on by the pandemic have also led some women to delay or abandon plans to have children.

Financial problems facing new families, such as rising costs of living and job losses caused by pandemic lockdowns, have also led many to delay having children, said Statistics Canada.

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