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Late marriages, late births: Turkish population below replacement level

Once boasting of having a young population, Turkey could find itself in the elders club in a not very distant future with quickly shrinking birth rates, statistics show.

The Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) released an update on Turkey’s population data on the occasion of World Population Day, marked on July 11. According to the stats, the fertility rate in Turkey last year dropped to 1.88 – a rate that was at 2.38 in 2001. The current rate is below the standard replacement level for a population, which is 2.1, signaling that the aging trend will continue for the country’s population. The fertility rate refers to the average live births a woman has between the ages of 15 and 49.

The mean age of first marriages rose for women, reaching 25 in 2019, from 24.4 in 2015. Also, the mean age at first birth of women is now 28.9, up from 26.7 in 2001. The mean age in first marriages is crucial for population statistics as earlier marriages would increase the potential for the number births, according to the statistics.

The data also showed that the percentage of child marriages for girls aged 16-17 among legal marriages declined to 3.1% in 2019 compared to 4.2% in 2017.

Experts in Turkey attribute the gradual slowdown in fertility rates to urbanization, a rise in the number of women pursuing education and women’s active participation in the workforce, which indirectly leads to the postponement of births.

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