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Germany

Germany Registers Slight Increase in Birth Rates

The birth rate in Germany rose in 2007 for the first time in three years, according to new statistics. Some attribute the minor increase to financial bonuses for children introduced last year.

One baby in a crib and several empty cribs

In 2007, more cribs in German maternity wards were full for the first time in three years

Women in Germany had an average of 1.37 children in 2007, up from 1.33 in 2006, said the Federal Statistical Office on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Some 685,000 babies were born in Germany in 2007, or 12,000 more than in the previous year.

The slight jump -- the first since 2004 -- was good news in a country whose population is aging rapidly.

In particular, births increased among women aged 33 to 37, while they decreased among younger women.

For the first time since German reunification in 1991, women in eastern Germany had as many children as those in western Germany, according to the report. The birth-rate in eastern Germany had dropped sharply after reunification.

Some have attributed the higher birth rate to family allowances, which the government introduced in 2007, which is an income-based sum paid out monthly for 12 to 14 months after a child's birth. It was originally designed to allow working women more flexibility in finding child care.

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