Portugal’s couples are shying away from the prospect of bringing up large families, or even replacing their own numbers, as Portugal is the European Union country with the lowest fertility rate and the lowest number of births between 2001 and 2015.
In the last 15 years the number of children born in Portugal has fallen dramatically from 112,774 to 85,500, according to data released by Eurostat on Wednesday.
With this 24% drop, Portugal is well behind the Netherlands (down 15.8%), Denmark (down 11.1%), and Romania (down 10.4%).
Greece, where the deep recession and 25% unemployment rate are sound reasons for holding back, has seen a drop of 10.2% - less than half that of Portugal.
The ever-reliable Swedes have shown the most willing with the highest birth rate in the EU, registering more than 114,000 births in 2015 compared to 90,000 in 2001. The Czech Republic and Slovenia are not far behind.
Overall across the EU, in 2015 some 5 million babies were born, 40,000 more than in 2001 and a growth rate of 0.8%.
By 2015, every Portuguese woman of childbearing age had an average of 1.31 children, well below the European Union average of 1.58 and a drop compared to 2001, where the fertility rate in Portugal was 1.45.
According to Eurostat, the fertility rate needed is 2.1 children per woman to replace the population, taking into account net migration.
The average age of first time mothers in Portugal was almost 30-years-old, in Italy 30.8 years, Spain 30.7, Luxembourg and in Greece 30.2 years - long gone are the days of young mothers, now careers often come first.
Portugal needs either to top up its population by immigration of re-gear its economy to cater for population decline and find a way to cope with an increasingly greater elderly population who all need pensions.