OSLO, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The fertility rate in Norway has fallen sharply since 2009, a phenomenon thought to be connected to unemployment and poor economic prospects, newspaper Aftenposten reported Monday.
According to Statistics Norway, the country's statistics bureau, last year showed the lowest numbers since 2009.
After several years of increase, the trend changed in the period of the economic crisis. As economic uncertainty grew from year to year, fertility rates in Norway decreased accordingly, Aftenposten reported.
Unlike in most western countries, fertility rates of Norwegian women increased in the 2000s. In 2002 the fertility rate was 1.75 and steadily increased to 1.98.
However, in the wake of the financial crisis, fertility has decreased every year, and by 2016 the fertility rate was 1.71, according to Statistics Norway's figures.
"Our findings show that local unemployment has had a greater negative impact on having first and third children after 2009," said Trude Lappegaard, senior researcher at Statistics Norway and the University of Oslo.
Lappegaard teamed up with Lars Dommermuth, another senior researcher at Statistics Norway, and authored a report to examine and explain the decline in fertility rates from 2010 in Norway.
There are primarily two main reasons why fertility rate has gone down, explained the researchers.
"Firstly, women wait longer before they have their first child. Secondly, there are fewer who have three or more children," said Dommermuth.
"Our results show that being in work has become more important for those who plan to have their first child. In addition, we see that having some work experience before having their first child also has become increasingly important," he said.
Lappegaard said the unemployment rates had become more important in the case of the births of the third child. "This suggests that mothers with two children generally have responded to growing economic uncertainty in society and in the local labor market," she said.
Norwegian women were, on average, 29 years old when they had their first child in 2016, according to the report.