Spain is at the head of the European Union countries with the lowest fertility rates, with 1.4 births per 1,000 women, and the average age for motherhood is 31.9 years, the highest in the world. Community countries, according to the report on the State of World Population 2018 of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The study, which was presented on Wednesday October 17 in Madrid, analyzes changes in fertility rates, advances in health and reproductive rights as well as barriers for people and couples to meet their reproductive goals.
Ahead of Spain, with lower overall fertility rate among the EU countries are Portugal (1.2 births), and Greece, Cyprus and Poland, which register 1.3 births. Croatia and Hungary are in the same position as Spain, with 1.4.
According to the report, more than 50 countries in the world have very low or low fertility rates. "In two out of every three countries, they already see low fertility as a problem of a national nature," said the UNFPA gender and human rights officer, Luis Mora, who has expressed his "concern".
22 countries do not reach the replacement level
In fact, as he has related there are 22 countries that do not reach the replacement level since their rate is below 2.1 births. Spain is part of this group of countries and, in fact, is one of those with the highest life expectancy (81 years old and 86 women).
Mora has begun the presentation of the report 'The power to decide' stressing that until recently the world fertility rate did not register as different rates as at present, although, according to Mora, there has been a "systematic reduction" of the birth in general.
In the category that includes countries with low fertility rates over a considerable period of time, there are mainly the most developed countries in North America, Asia and Europe, which have higher levels of education and more progress in the effective exercise of the rights of women and where reproductive rights are generally respected.
As Mora has remarked, in the case of Japan or South Korea in 25 years the population will have been reduced "in an important way", since around 20% or 25% of the population "will have disappeared", said the expert. Thus, he insisted that this issue "poses challenges" as it directly affects the economic, social and sustainable development of the countries.
At this point, he has asserted that the percentage of single or single women without children is "increasing significantly" among the women of these developed countries, while pointing out that Infertility, especially among men, is also increasingor.
Mora has shown that low levels of fertility are mainly due to the fact that many women make the decision not to have children because of "the lack of options" and the lack of policies to facilitate the reconciliation of work with family and private life. .
Likewise, from an economic perspective, "the desire to have them" decreases because the expenses involved "You can not assume". In the case of Spain, Mora has also emphasized the "high" number of births through assisted reproduction, which already reaches 8%, according to Mora.
"There are important barriers to exercising reproductive rights, whether economic or institutional," Mora said. In this sense, the UNFPA report has called for the promotion of policies favorable to conciliation, co-responsibility, and to end the precariousness of the labor market since "it affects the ability of women to freely decide" on the maternity.
High rates in the least developed
Sub-Saharan Africa will concentrate 27% of the world population's global growth by the year 2050, as the Report makes clear. Against this scenario, a large part of Sub-Saharan Africa and six other countries in conflict or recent crises present rates of more than four births per woman, according to the report. In general, these countries are the poorest and in them access to health care and education is "limited". In addition, the high fertility rate "may indicate a series of human rights deficiencies".
As an example, he cited the case of Niger, which registers the highest fertility rate, with between seven and eight children per woman, and if it continues in 18 years it will double its population.
Mora stressed that in this category of countries, women "continue to see their reproductive rights biased" because "they can not choose freely". In these states, there are high fertility rates that are mainly due to unwanted pregnancies, in many cases of underage women since the practice of early marriage is common.
"In sub-Saharan Africa 4 out of 10 women are forced to marry before they are 14 years old", has declared. The country with the highest rate is Niger, where there are on average more than eight births per woman.
There is another series of countries in which fertility seems to stabilize and even tends to increase, although they decreased "considerably", and other countries in which fertility has declined since the 60s and 80s and this decrease remains . These are, for example, countries in Latin America, Algeria, Egypt, Central Asia or India.
Spain "suspends" in sex education
For its part, the Secretary of State for Equality, Soledad Murillo, has said that the low fertility rate in Spain is "worrisome", while it has appealed to the co-responsibility of decisions about having children. "Having children is still a woman's dilemma, when it has to be a shared dilemma," she said. "Motherhood is penalized in Spain" and "co-responsibility has not yet won the conciliation," he pointed out.
Finally, the president of the Federation of State Family Planning (FPFE), Guillermo González Antón, has warned that sex education is not a pending issue, but "absolutely suspended in Spain."
It has also put on the table "the great differences" that exist between the autonomous communities regarding the system of assisted reproduction or the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, while at the same time it has influenced that the development objectives set by the 2030 agenda include the women's right to decide "freely". "Let no one be left behind let's make it happen", he concluded.