Fertility rate in larger cities higher than elsewhere in Poland: study

An increase in the fertility rate in large cities, faster than other places in Poland has been observed in recent few years, according to a study conducted by a demographer from the Institute of Statistics and Demography of the Warsaw School of Economics, Professor Irena E. Kotowska.

Professor Kotowska analysed how the fertility rate of women in the largest Polish cities (over 100,000 inhabitants) has changed in recent years.

In 2013, the fertility rate for the whole of Poland reached 1.25 (125 children per 100 women) and by 2015 it had increased to 1.3. Its considerable growth was observed in 2016-2017, when the figure reached 1.45. In the following two years, however, it began to decline again to 1.41 in 2019.

The data is slightly different when considering only large Polish cities (over 100,000 inhabitants), where almost 11 million people live. Since 2018, the fertility rate in these cities is higher than in the rest of Poland. According to data from the Central Statistical Office of Poland, in 2013 the fertility rate in large cities was only 1.15 compared to 1.26 for the country, whereas in 2019 it stood at 1.45 compared to 1.42 for the entire Poland.

The situation was best in eight large cities, which in 2019, with a fertility rate of at least 1.5, moved beyond the low fertility zone. Such cities include Warsaw (1.57), Kraków (1.54), Poznań (1.51), Ruda Śląska (1.58), Koszalin (1.53) and Wrocław (1.5). Gdańsk had a record high fertility, where in 2019 the rate was as high as 1.64. When it comes to the fertility growth rate, Opole came first, with only 0.97 rate in 2013 and 1.6 in 2019.

In the opinion of Ms Kotowska, the superior economic situation (improving labor market, rising wages), access to better quality healthcare and changes in family policy in the last decade were especially favourable for couples from large cities.

Despite the growing figures in such places over the years, she stated that those times could be over, pointing to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty about income, education and health.

The fertility rate is the average number of children born to a woman in a lifetime, assuming that throughout the reproductive period (15-49 years), the fertility rates by age remain the same as in a given year.

Generational replacement is secured when a fertility rate of 2.1 is reached. Since 1989, the fertility rate has been significantly lower in Poland and since 1998, the recorded figures have not exceeded 1.5, which characterise a low fertility rate.