Athens, Greece. Moves are underway in Greek leadership circles to start a new campaign encouraging childbirth as a “national value,” and it can not come a moment too soon if population statistics are correct, Greece is running out of a population to procreate for an uncertain future.
Most people in Greece can’t afford to have more than one child, and many are opting to have none at all. Fertility doctor Minas Mastrominas tells the New York Times that, “some women have decided not to conceive, and single-child parents have been asking him to destroy their remaining embryos.” He said.
After eight years of economic stagnation,many Greek couples are giving up on their dreams of having children or in building a family.But It isn’t just Greece suffering low birth rates. In fact the trend spreads to most of Europe, with Spain, Portugal and Italy also reporting dangerously low rates.
Many population sociologists are studying why this is happening. Maingly unemployment continues to be a serious issue in Greece. Rates are slightly lower than in 2016 when they were 23.9 per cent, but are still very high at 23.5 per cent. The decrease has affected women more, with unemployment rates at 27 per cent compared to 20 per cent of men.
Previous Greek child tax breaks and subsidies for large families have decreased, and the country stands at having to lowest budget in the EU for family and child benefits.
During the height of the Greek crisis, women postponed childbirth in favour of working. As the years have dragged on, the rate of fertility decreased, making it biologically more difficult to conceive.Additionally, gender equality came to a standstill, and many women of ‘childbearing age’ were denied employment, or had their employment contracts changed to part time involuntarily, as soon as they got pregnant.
One other factor causing the end of Greek families are reduced pensions for grandparents, who traditionally took care of the family’s children, this now means that parents will have to reach into their dwindling budget in order to pay for child care. All of these circumstances provides an unwelcoming environment for having children, creating a spiralling drop in Greek birth rates.