Lithuanian new-borns at lowest number since 1999

The pandemic has affected Lithuanian demographics not only in the elderly age groups, but also in the number of new-born children. The year 2020 ended with lowest point in a long-decreasing national birth rate, Domantė Platūkytė and report.
Statistics Lithuania stated earlier this autumn, that around 25,000 babies were born in the country last year, the lowest number since 1999. Five years ago, the figure was 30,000, but has been steadily declining.
According to Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, the speaker of the Lithuanian parliament Seimas, the birth rates declined in most European countries. «These trends are reinforced by the pandemic, which creates a climate of uncertainty, making people feel unsafe,» Čmilytė-Nielsen said in a press conference last week.
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The situation is even worse in Lithuanian regions. In 2020, around 70 percent of babies were born in Lithuania’s largest cities Vilnius and Kaunas, and only 30 percent in other regions.
Measures to encourage families to have more children
According to the parliament speaker, birth rates are higher in countries that have an adequate long-term family policy focused on the labour market, human rights, equality, and social protection. «My priority is the family package, which includes initiatives related to human rights, gender equality, as well as making both mothers and fathers able to balance their families and careers in a more flexible way,» Čmilytė-Nielsen said.
Describing the depth of the problem, Asta Speičytė-Radzevičienė, head of the national initiative I Raise Lithuania (Auginu Lietuvą), said that «Lithuania is declining and is among the four fastest ageing countries in Europe». «The country’s birth rate has been falling drastically year on year, and the coronavirus pandemic has only made it worse,» she said. «Poor psychological health and a genuine fear of getting pregnant might push the demographic curve even lower.»
The article originally appeared on LRT English: