France Sees Lowest Number of Births Since WWII

France Sees Lowest Number of Births Since WWII

The number of births in France has fallen to its lowest level since the Second World War in a grim indicator of Western demographic collapse.

Figures released this week from the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee) reported that 678,000 babies were born in France last year, a decline of 48,000 over 2022 and the lowest of any year since 1946.

As with other countries in the West, France has long faced a declining birth rate, falling nearly every year since 2010 when 832,799 babies were born in the country, approximately 20 per cent higher than in 2023. However, according to Insee, the speed of decline has been increasing, with the birth rate standing at 1.68 children per woman in 2023, compared to 1.79 in 2022 and 1.99 in 2013.

A rate of 2.1 babies per woman is typically considered the baseline requirement for a modern nation to maintain its population rate. While France was well below this rate, the population did not in fact decline, given a 6.5 per cent decline in deaths, which stood at 631,000.

This was driven by an increase in life expectancy to 85.7 for women and 80 for men, representing a 0.6-year increase for women and a 0.7 per cent rise for men over 2022. While welcome news, the ageing population will likely put further strain on the pension and healthcare systems, with one in five people in France now being 65 years of age or older and one in ten being 75 or older.

The population, which grew by 0.3 per cent to 68.4 million, also increased due to mass migration, with 183,000 foreigners becoming residents last year. Neo-liberal governments, including in France, have often touted immigration as the solution to demographic decline and as a means to prop up their generous welfare states.

However, there has been growing resistance towards mass migration in France and throughout Europe, given the negative social and economic impacts of importing large populations of foreigners, such as devaluing the cost of labour and increased strains on government as well as the risk of terrorism, with France experiencing two Islamist terror attacks since October.

This week in a rare press conference held at the Élysée Palace, President Macron addressed the issue of demographics, which he described as the “taboo of the century”. Macron said that his government would seek to introduce a six-month “birth leave” for new parents and announced that “a major plan to combat this scourge” of declining birth rates will be forthcoming.

Rather than seeking to import foreigners to solve their demographic issues, culturally conservative European countries such as Hungary and Poland have introduced pro-family policies to help parents economically.

For example, under the previous Law and Justice (PiS) conservative government, Poland implemented a “maternal pension” to show “gratitude and respect” for women who have raised four or more children. Meanwhile, Hungary has seen success in boosting marriage and birth rates by enacting economic incentives for mothers such as granting lifetime tax exemptions for women who have four or more children.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has argued that governments throughout the West have been engaging in national “suicide” by adopting “Great Replacement” policies, a theory coined by French writer Renaud Camus, who argued that globalist politicians view their people as cogs rather than individual humans and therefore can merely be replaced with mass migration.