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Colombia’s Birth Rate Hits a Ten-Year Low


Birth rate declines in Colombia. – Credit: Alejandro Giatsidakis / ColombiaOne

Colombia has witnessed a significant decrease in its birth rate, marking the steepest decline in the past ten years. In 2022, the country recorded 573,625 births, a 7% drop compared to 2021, which saw 616,914 births. This data, revealed by the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), underscores a notable shift in the country’s demographic trends.

Regional Variations in Birth Rates

Despite the overall decline, five departments, primarily in border areas, reported an increase in birth rates in 2022. Vichada and Guainía led with increases of 59.1% and 34.1%, respectively. However, Bogotá, the capital city, experienced the most significant decrease in birth numbers over the last five years, with 22,426 fewer births than in 2018, a reduction of 25.7%.

The report also highlights concerning trends, such as an increase in low birth weight babies, particularly in Bogota, Cundinamarca, Nariño, and Boyaca. As of October 2023, 11.0% of births were low weight, continuing an upward trend from previous years. Additionally, non-fetal deaths in 2022 decreased to 287,251, a 20.9% drop from 2021. The report also sheds light on births among young girls and adolescents, with 4,226 births recorded in girls aged 10 to 14 in 2022.

Factors Influencing the Birth Rate Decline

The decline in Colombia’s birth rate, which reached 10.5% in the first quarter of 2023, is attributed to a growing trend of families opting not to have children. This shift has been particularly pronounced following the COVID-19 pandemic, as noted by DANE Director Piedad Urdinola. The first quarter of 2023 saw only 126,650 births, a significant decrease from the 141,288 births in the same period in 2022.

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