Quebec birth rate rose last year for the first time since 2012

Newborn baby. (Dominika Roseclay/Pexels)

A 0.4 per cent increase in Quebec’s birth rate last year is the first the province has seen since 2012, according to Quebec's statistics agency.

There were an estimated 84,200 births in the province in 2019, compared to 83,840 the year before, representing a minor increase of 360. 

The change is being attributed to an increase in the number of women in Quebec who are of childbearing age, rather than a change in the province's fertility rate. In fact, the fertility rate actually dropped last year -- from 1.59 children per woman in 2018 to 1.58 in 2019. 

For the second year in a row, Quebec’s fertility rate is less than 1.6 children per woman. It remained above that number from 2006 to 2017, peaking at 1.73 back in 2008-09. The global replacement threshold -- the fertility rate needed to replace the population from one generation to the next -- has been 2.1 children per woman since 1970. 

Declines in fertility rates in Quebec are linked to an overall decrease among women who are under the age of 30. A rise in rates among women older than 30 have been observed for a few years, which seem to have resulted in stabilization. 

Though fertility in Quebec has decreased over the past decade, there was an increase in 11 regions in 2019 compared to the year before. Nord-du-Québec is where fertility is highest, at 2.6 children per woman. It’s lowest in Montreal, at under 1.5 children per woman. 

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