Research from the National School of Public Health (ESDY) in Greece has shown that austerity has fuelled a dramatic decrease in the birthrate and a rapid increase in stillbirths.

The research, whose findings were published in the Greek daily Eleftherotypia, found that from 2009 to 2011, the birthrate has fallen consistently, from 10.45 births per 1,000 inhabitants in 2009, 10.15 births per 1,000 inhabitants in 2010 and 9.39 births per 1,000 inhabitants in 2011, an overall decrease of 10.13%.

Also, between 2008 and 2011, the rate of stillbirths has increased 21.5%, from 3.31 per 1,000 in 2008, to 4.28 in 2009, 4.36 in 2010 and 4.01 in 2011.

Existing research has shown the strong correlation between an increase in stillbirths and a decline in access to healthcare.

In Greece, people who have been unemployed for over a year not only lose their benefits but also their public health insurance.

Efi Simou who contacted the ESDY study stated that “The low birthrate, coupled with an increase in the population aged over 65, is alarming. In times of crisis, such as the present one, there is a compelling need for policies that, on the one hand, will motivate couples to have children and, on the other, will provide women with comprehensive prenatal and perinatal care, regardless of their economic or their employment situation”.

 It is worth noting that in Portugal, where severe austerity measures are also being applied to the economy, the birth-rate has fallen 14% since 2008.