Estonia has a low birth rate because only 29 percent of people are pleased with their family lives, Minister of Economy and Infrastructure Urve Palo said at a conference today.
At the conference, bearing the rather accusatory title “Why Aren’t Estonian Women Giving Birth?”, Palo said that being contented in one’s family life is the most important factor in birth rates, uudised.err.ee reported.
Citing the 75 percent contentment with family life in Denmark, Palo said that Estonia labors under the misapprehension that birth rate cannot be affected.
“I categorically disagree. The indicator is better in the Nordic countries. It is possible that women give birth more if you do something about it. For reproduction, the state needs 2.1 children per woman, in Estonia, the birth rate is currently 1.6. Our women will indeed not be giving birth to 4-5 children anymore. But there is no need - it was necessary in the 18th century, when mortality among infants was high. 2.1 children per woman of a fertile age is enough for us,” Palo said.
She added that equality in the labor market would increase the bith rate and improve men’s health. “The more women are employed, the larger the birth rate - sounds incredible but studies indicate it,” Palo said.
Palo said that according to a common misconception, the high rate of university-educated women leaves to a slump in births, whereas the real reason is unhappiness with family life.
“If we are equal partners at home, we are more happy with family life, we get more opportunities of self-realization and more children are born.”