From year to year, mothers give birth to children later and later. Experts believe that the borders will continue to move, and the limit is, at least theoretically, the end of the reproductive cycle, that is, the entry of a woman into her fifties.
Will the latest state measures to encourage birth rates lower the birth rate in Serbia, or will the predictions of demographers come true, who claim that the trend started with the end of the First World War in the whole world and that it is difficult to curb it.
Official data show that the average age of a mother in Serbia at the birth of her first child is 28.8 years, while half a century ago it was 22.2. Demographer Ivan Marinkovic claims that the process of moving the age limit for giving birth has especially intensified in the last 15 years. And while there used to be a negligible number of those giving birth after 35, and especially after 40, now there are more and more of them.
Medicine and artificial insemination helped some parents to fulfill that role in the sixties, and some gave birth to their children thanks to surrogacy! The oldest firstborn in Serbia was Ljubinka M., who had a baby in her early seventies.
– There are many reasons why childbirth is delayed – says Marinkovic.
– Unlike the period a hundred years ago, primary school is compulsory, in all probability it will be secondary, so the period of schooling is extended, and thus the establishment of a family is moved. Earlier, in the thirties and forties, people were already grandparents.
Today, the period of youth has been extended all over the world and beyond 30.
The birth rate, he notes, is high only in underdeveloped countries, where the level of general education, and especially among women, is low, and where they are denied many rights.
– People gave birth to many children at a time when agriculture was the primary activity, so many children were economically viable because even the youngest ones participated in keeping cattle or working in the fields. In addition, infant mortality rates were high, so more children were sent to survive. All that changes with industrialization – Marinkovic notes.
Jovana Ružičić from the Association “Center for Moms” emphasizes that when young couples feel that there is certainty in which they can plan their future and that there will be no problems with the birth rate.
– Only a state in which entrepreneurship is encouraged nurtures talent, in which the education and health system functions according to pre-established plans, can hope for prosperity in this area as well – Ružičić points out.
TAX RELIEFS A GOOD INCENTIVE
In the middle of the last century, the required number of children for simple reproduction was lost.
Stimulative measures of the state, says demographer Ivan Marinkovic, are important to keep the fertility rate at least 1.5, as it is now, not to fall to 1. The best incentives so far in other countries have been, he notes, tax breaks for families with many children during their childhood and schooling.
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