It's raining babies

One of the most blatantly obvious things to note about Berlin is that there are babies everywhere you turn. I don't have a proper explanation for how or why this is happening. Germany's birth rate, as you can see in this New York Times graphic, is dropping like a brick:

The New York Times article says that the perception that Prenzlauer Berg (my neighborhood) is the neighborhood with the most children in Europe is false. “If you look at the different quarters of Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg has one of the lowest birthrates.” Maybe. But that doesn't change my perception of the matter, because I feel like I've never before encountered so many babies in one place.

A different measure of the baby boom is this: According to Der Tagesspiegel, in 2007, for the first time since World War II, there were more births than deaths in Berlin.

Here's a photo I took in my neighborhood (near Eberwalderstr. U-Bahn, for sticklers) on a recent afternoon. I count five baby buggies, and two Laufr├Ąder (pedal-less bikes for little tots). No, this isn't a baby buggy outlet store. This is a typical cafe on a typical day, crammed with mommies with babies.


organicgirl said...

Interesting. I (fairly) recently read the Means of Reproduction by Michelle Goldberg. She argues countries that do the most for women's equality (e.g. Scandinavia) have the most balanced birth rates in terms of long term population stability. With respect to Germany, she described a limited amount of time to implement necessary reforms to encourage women to have children (e.g. daycare, paid leave from work, etc.) while there are still enough people in the workforce paying taxes to pay for it.
- Elizabeth

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