Q REPORTS – The Centro Centroamericano de Población (CCP) – Central American Population Center – conducted a fertility analysis in Costa Rica.
The analysis presented on Tuesday, July 11, showed that Costa Rica has a very low fertility rate of 1.3 births per woman in 2021 and 2022, compared to a low rate of 2.1 children by 2002.
This rate is lower than that of other countries, including South Korea, Taiwan and Ukraine. Deputy Director of CCP Gilbert Brenes discussed the potential effects of this low fertility rate.
“The process of population aging is not a phenomenon of absolute numbers, that is, of the number of older adults, but of relative quantity. In other words, there will be more and more older adults and fewer and fewer minors. That has several implications in terms of how many people are going to enter the labor force, to be able to sustain everything that is pensions, health services, educational services, in terms of taxes. Young adults are supposed to be the ones who contribute the most to these taxes,” explained Brenes.
According to Brenes, in recent years, the influx of people to Costa Rica has decreased, which could cause the fertility rate to decrease further. He commented that if immigrants had not arrived in Costa Rica over the last 40 years, the impact of the fertility rate decline could have been more severe, resulting in an aging population and a greater demand for certain services.
“When there is a country that receives more immigrants than it emits, in general, as the immigrants are young adults, that balances the effect of the fertility decline. In Costa Rica, this was seen during the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century. If immigrants had not arrived in Costa Rica in the last 40 years, possibly the effect of fertility would have been faster with its consequences in the aging process and the demand for certain services,” Brenes explained.
The deputy director of the CCP discussed the causes for the drop in fertility rate over the past two decades in the country.
“One of the good news is that part of the fertility decline is achieved by the decline in adolescent fertility, which has implications in terms of gender equality, more opportunities for young women to continue in the educational system and continue in the labor market. There are other phenomena that we are observing. The acceleration of the decline in fertility has begun to take place, especially in the last 7 or 8 years, when the economic situation for Costa Rican households is complicated and, as we always say, couples are not stupid. If they see that it is more difficult to have enough resources to raise children, then they decide to have less or postpone pregnancies until when they consider that they have enough resources,” said the expert.
Brenes concluded that various public approaches could be adopted to combat the declining fertility rate.
“There are several knowledgeable academics and experts in Costa Rica who have argued that if care services are strengthened, not only child care and the coverage of the school system, but also coverage in the care of the elderly or people with disabilities. disabilities, this could help people, especially women, not to feel the pressure of not having children, but to know that there is a whole public-private system that supports them in order to have children, with a part of the day where they can take care of themselves to be able to return to the labor market”, mentioned the deputy director of the CCP.