Brno, May 23 (CTK) – Natality in the Czech Republic sharply declined in the past 25 years, even dropping below the simple reproduction limit, Czech Demographic Society chairwoman Jitka Langhamrova told media at the opening of a three-day Brno conference on Czech and Slovak demography on Wednesday.
Before 1990, one Czech woman had more than two children on average, while the current average is 1.6 children per woman, Langhamrova said.
She said it is necessary to motivate families to have more children by measures such as reduced working hours, various services and also financial support.
Langhamrova said there are several reasons behind the decline in natality.
In the past, women had children at the age of 20 or 21, while at present they most often become mothers at the age of 30.
“After 1990, there were changes in society and people started to behave differently. They have different opportunities, can travel, study and they also need to reach a certain standard of living in order to succeed in society. That is why they postpone the childbirth until their higher age,” Langhamrova said, referring to the period following the late 1989 collapse of the communist regime in the country.
With the first child’s birth, worries and complications emerge. If the parents want to pursue their careers, this may result in their having fewer children. The cases of parents with a single child are becoming more and more frequent, while the families with six and more children are a rarity.
The natality’s fall below the simple reproduction level means that the number of newborn kids is lower than what is needed to maintain the current population.
According to Langhamrova, 2.1 children per woman are needed to secure a balanced society where people in their productive age would be capable of financing children and seniors.
In addition, people’s rising life expectancy combined with low natality leads to the population’s ageing, she said.
It is a political task to motivate families to have more children. “It is necessary to work on combining the work and family life. For example, it is possible to offer part-time jobs or flexible work hours, and also services for parents and tax reliefs for those helping parents,” Langhamrova said.