At the rate babies are being born, Canada will not be able to replace its population.
That is, unless the country totally relies on immigration.
Canada's total fertility rate (TFR) hit a record low in 2019, Statistics Canada reported.
According to the agency, the rate, or number of children a woman could have during her reproductive life, declined to 1.47 births last year.
“Canada's TFR has been below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per women since 1971, meaning that the number of babies being born is not enough for the current population to replace itself,” Statistics Canada noted.
In a previous report, the federal agency noted that the country’s fertility rate after the Second World War peaked at 3.94 per woman in 1959.
“From 1946 to 1965, thanks to a strong post-war economy, the reunification of families following the war and high marriage rates, Canada's baby boom was born,” Statistics Canada stated in the earlier report.
However, all that changed by the end of the 1960s.
“The influence of religion on daily life was in decline, contraception was now more effective and readily available than ever and the participation of women in higher education and in the paid labour force was on the rise,” the agency recalled.
As a result, fertility levels “fell rapidly”.
“Changes to divorce legislation in 1968, and again in 1986, allowed for easier access to divorce and a subsequent increase in the number of divorces, likely affecting both the number and timing of births for couples,” Statistics Canada noted.
In 2011, the TFR was 1.61 children per woman.
In its new report Tuesday (September 29), Statistics Canada related that Canadian women are waiting longer to become mothers.
The agency noted that the delay is an additional six years compared with 60 years earlier.
“Over the last six decades, the average age of first-time mothers increased from 23.2 years in 1959 to 29.4 years in 2019,” Statistics Canada reported.
The federal agency noted that this trend is common in other countries, including the U.S.
It also “coincides with increased participation for women aged 25 to 54 years in the workforce and a rise in university-educated women”.