From postponing the age of marriage to emigration, births in the Northern regions of the country are halved

The number of births in Albania has fallen rapidly, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, but in the northern districts the decline was twice the national average.

The official data of INSTAT show that in the first 9 months of 2023, a total of 16,353 babies were born, or 20% less than in the same period of 2019, but in the counties of Dibra and Kukës, the number of births decreased by 37% for each one.

In the district of Dibra, only 597 babies were born in the 9th month of 2023 from 831 in the same comparison period of 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic started. Only 499 babies out of 787 born in 2019 were born in Kukës district.

After Kukës and Dibra, the decline was stronger for the counties of Korça and Elbasan, with 31 and 30% each.

All counties had a double-digit decrease in the number of births, including the capital, which for the same comparison period experienced a decrease in births by 11%. Even though the population of Tirana has increased year after year, the number of births has decreased significantly.

In the northern counties, the decline in births is being driven by migration factors. In recent years, Dibra and Kukësi were involved in a strong wave of young people emigrating to Great Britain. While in the district of Korça, the decline in births is being affected by the aging of the population, as the district has experienced earlier waves of emigration.

Year after year, women of reproductive age plan to give birth to fewer and fewer children. Postponing the age of marriage, career and lifestyle changes are making Albanian women less and less inclined to start a family and to give birth to more than one child.

INSTAT data show that during 2022 the fertility rate fell to 1.21 children per woman of reproductive age, from 1.32 in 2021. This is the strongest decline since the year.

This means that in 100 women of reproductive age, only 121 children are born, out of 132 children born in 2021. From 2001 to 2023, the fertility rate has halved, falling from a level of 2.31 children per woman to 1,21 children.

Compared to Eurostat 2021 data, Albania is seen to have the lowest birth rates in Europe, leaving behind only Spain (1.19) and Malta (1.13).

The fertility index is below the replacement rate of 2,1 children per woman, which means that a couple cannot replace themselves. /Monitor

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