Statistics: Never so few births in Switzerland for fifteen years


StatisticsNever so few births in Switzerland for fifteen years

Between January and August 2022, there were 8,483 fewer newborns than in 2021. Enough to equal the annual figures for 2007, according to estimates.

Without immigration, the population would drop drastically.

Without immigration, the population would drop drastically.

© Editpress/Hervé Montaigu

While the pandemic in 2021 had given rise to many birth records and to a real baby boom, it is now just the opposite that seems to be happening. Between January and August 2022, the Federal Statistical Office recorded only 51,302 live births, the lowest figure for this period since 2007. Compared to last year, there were 8,483 new -born less between January and August. The numbers were already low in May and similar trends were seen in Germany, Austria, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

The finger pointing at the coronavirus

According to Susanne Grylka, director of research at the ZHAW Institute of Midwifery, in “20 Minuten”, it is above all the mutation of the coronavirus that is responsible for such a low rate. With the Delta variant in the fall of 2021, it became clear, according to the specialist, that pregnant women were among the risk groups. “Unvaccinated women sometimes presented with very serious evolutions of the disease linked to the coronavirus. The combination of pregnancy and Covid was suddenly associated with fears,” she says. But the high number of Covid infections in the fall of 2021 would also be one of the reasons for the low birth rate.

For some people, the vaccine would be a plausible explanation for these low births. However, several studies on the effects of Covid vaccines on the fertility of men and women refute this thesis. Even Swissmedic stated as early as August that “neither continued marketing authorization studies nor global market surveillance indicate that vaccines based on mRNA technology for the prevention of Covid-19 could make sterile”.

Fears for the AVS

This phenomenon is not without consequences. Indeed, with the increase in life expectancy, there are more old people and fewer young people. This growing imbalance is certainly a global trend, but it is very pronounced in Switzerland. “The World Health Organization predicts that in 2050 there will be more people over 65 in the world than young people under 15,” says Gretler Heusser, from the Haute École’s social work department. from Lucerne in “20 Minuten”.

More old people, less young people: this will have consequences on the AVS, for example. “The current system cannot be maintained as it is in the future,” explains Gretler Heusser. The traditional image of the family is also in decline. The population increasingly builds a family of friends and important reference persons instead of a biological family.

Sociologist Ben Jann from the University of Bern agrees with Gretler Heusser’s analysis: “If this trend were to continue, it would pose a problem for old-age provision in Switzerland.” In our country, the fertility rate, that is to say the average number of children to which a woman gives birth during her lifetime, has been, for about forty years already, in a range of approximately 1.5. However, this lack of births is compensated by migration.

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