Babies wanted: Nordic countries crying for kids

Babies wanted: Nordic countries crying for kids. By Pierre-henry Deshayes.

“Norway needs more children! I don’t think I need to tell anyone how this is done,” Norway’s prime minister said cheekily, but she was raising a real concern. …

In Norway, Finland and Iceland, birth rates dropped to historic lows in 2017, with 1.49 to 1.71 children born per woman. Just a few years earlier, their birth rates hovered close to the 2.1 level required for their populations to remain stable.

Started when financial pressures rose in 2008:

“In all of the Nordic countries, birth rates started dropping in the years after the 2008 financial crisis,” University of Oslo sociologist Trude Lappegard told AFP.

“The crisis is over now but it’s still falling.”

From Copenhagen to the North Cape, from Helsinki to Reykjavik, demographics across the Nordics reveal two things: there are fewer large families, and women are waiting longer before having their first child.

There’s no single explanation, but financial uncertainty and a sharp rise in housing costs are seen as likely factors. …

Immigration:

But population growth among minorities has also fuelled fears.

A former justice minister in Norway, Per-Willy Amundsen of the populist far-right, made headlines when he called for family allowances to be reduced after a third child.

His stated goal was to stop Somalis who, he said, had a higher “birth production” rate than “ethnic Norwegians”.