Quebec is experiencing the lowest number of births in nearly 20 years

Quebec is experiencing the lowest number of births in nearly 20 years
Quebec is experiencing the lowest number of births in nearly 20 years

MONTREAL — Quebec experienced a 3% drop in the number of births between 2022 and 2023, according to data published Wednesday by the Institut de la tourisme du Québec (ISQ). This brings births to their lowest level since 2005.

The ISQ estimates that 77,950 babies will be born in Quebec in 2023. The decline in the number of births has continued since 2013, the year when Quebec recorded 88,900 births.

The other Canadian provinces have not yet published their data on births that took place last year, but the demographer at the ISQ, Frédéric Fleury-Payeur, expects that they will also see a decrease.

“It’s important to put this in an international context where we see a decline almost everywhere on earth,” mentions Mr. Fleury-Payeur.

There are multiple factors to explain the decline in births. Mr. Fleury-Payeur talks about the cost of living and the difficult access to property. Simply accessing housing, for example to move from a 4 and a half to a 5 and a half, is difficult in the current housing market.

The demographer adds that the desire to give birth to children is declining and that this may be linked to concerns, particularly from an environmental point of view.

The difficulty of forming stable unions is also an area that is increasingly studied in an attempt to understand the influence that this can have on the desire to procreate.

The total fertility rate fell again to stand at 1.38 children per woman in 2023, one of the lowest fertility rates in the history of Quebec. “We find ourselves at the second lowest level ever recorded in Quebec after 1.36 which we observed in 1987,” specifies Mr. Fleury-Payeur.

At the Canadian level, Quebec’s fertility is higher than that of the majority of other provinces.

In recent years, a peak of 1.73 children per woman was reached in 2008 and 2009, but since then the trend has been downward with the exception of the rise in 2021. According to the ISQ, this figure of exception can be explained by the fact that Quebecers decided to postpone the plan to have a child due to the COVID-19 pandemic which first hit in 2020.

Among the highlights of the demographic report, we note that 37% of babies born in Quebec in the last year have at least one parent born in another country. This proportion tends to increase over the years. It was 21% in 2000, then reached 33% in 2019.

Furthermore, the babies of 2023 continued the seasonal profile that we have known in Quebec for many years. According to the Quebec trend, more children are generally born in summer than during any other season of the year, the slowest period being winter. The month of September is once again in 2023 the month when the highest number of daily births was recorded, i.e. 227 per day.

The Canadian Press’ health content receives funding through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. The Canadian Press is solely responsible for editorial choices.

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