For the last two years, the government has been applying monetary incentives to encourage births by providing direct subsidies to every child born, but this policy has not improved the situation even though many children born abroad have been registered in Albania to benefit from the bonus.
According to INSTAT, 12,500 babies were born across the country, down 3.2 percent compared to the first six months of 2019.
The decline in births has worsened in this decade especially in the last 6 years, when population shrinkage and high emigration that has been continuing at higher rates since 1990, are accumulating negative effects on births. In the first 6 months, births fell by over 24% compared to 2012.
Generally, the annual number of births in Albania fluctuates between 24-32 thousand babies per year. Last year a little more than 28,500 thousand babies were born, while during the 6 months of 2020 only 12,500 babies were born.
According to the data belonging to the second quarter of 2020, only two regions of the country have marked an increase in the number of births, compared to the same period of 2019, while in ten regions there has been a decrease. In the second quarter of 2020, the largest number of births is registered in the region of Tirana, while the smallest in the region of Gjirokastra.
The highest increase in the percentage of births, during the second quarter of 2020, compared to the same period of 2019 has been in the region of Gjirokastra with 5.2%, the largest decrease has been in the region of Kukes, with 37.0%.
If we refer to the absolute number of births, there is clearly a significant decrease in their number, from 82 thousand in 1990 to 28,561 births in 2019.
Demographers explain that the fertility of people of reproductive age today is different from that of their parents, both in terms of the average number of children per woman (synthetic fertilization index) and in terms of structural characteristics (age).
During the 2000s, the synthetic fertilization index in Albania fell below the replacement level, which is defined as 2.1 children per woman. For the first time in the history of Albanian fertility, the Synthetic Fertilization index was less than 2 children per woman after 2003, while in 2019 it was less than 1.36. Today women who give birth to their first child are on average older than their mothers once were. Until the early 2000s, the typical family model in Albania was a married couple with two children.
The average age at first birth has increased slightly over the last 10 years as people create families at an older age and tend to have fewer children. Recently, the family has also become less stable as a result of the rising divorce rate, demographers explain.