According to the Icelandic Directorate of Health, the fertility rate in Iceland has dropped and is now 1.7 children per woman on average, reports Vísir. Historically, this number has been higher compared to neighboring countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, but now it is at the same level as them.
The fertility rate in Iceland reached its peak in the 1960s, when women had about 4.3 children on average. As stated by the the Directorate, the average number of children per woman should be 2.1, in order to maintain the Icelandic population. This does not account for population growth due to immigration.
The Directorate also introduced a study conducted in Finland, which states that the main reasons for the decline in the fertility rate in that country are the higher average age of women having their first child and an increase among those who decide not to have children. According to the Directorate of Health, it can be assumed that the same reasons apply to Iceland.
Inequal access to maternity services around Iceland
In 2020, 4,499 children were born in Iceland in 4,457 births. This equates to 60.9 children per thousand women. The majority of the births, 74%, took place at Landspítali. 118 women decided to give birth at home, which is a slightly higher number than before and can possibly be explained by the pandemic. Out of all the births, 719 were caesareans.
The figures expose the difference in access to maternity services around Iceland. Only half of the women living in East Iceland gave birth in their home area, and the majority of women living in the Wesfjords (61.3%), Suðurnes (70.8%) and Suðurland (84%) gave birth outside their home area.
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