Malta has the lowest fertility rate in Europe, according to EU-wide data released on Tuesday.

Figures for 2017 published by Eurostat found that while France had the highest fertility rate of 1.9 babies per woman, Malta was at the very bottom of the list with 1.32 babies born on average for every woman.

Malta has long been at the lower end of the spectrum. In fact figures for 2016 had found the island was fourth from last for fertility.  

In 2017, 5.075 million babies were born in the EU, compared with 5.148 million in 2016.

The total fertility rate in the EU stood at 1.59 births per woman, compared with 1.6 the previous year.

Read: Malta needs to accept it has a fertility problem, says expert

The highest total fertility rate recorded in recent years was in 2010 when it reached 1.62, still below the replacement level, which is considered to be 2.1 live births per woman.

Malta is at the bottom of the list when it comes to having babies.Malta is at the bottom of the list when it comes to having babies.

Among the 5.075 million births, 45% were the mothers’ first child, 36% a second child and 19% a third or subsequent child.

Women in the EU who became mothers for the first time in 2017 were, on average, 29 years old - up from an average of 28.7 years old in 2013. 

Almost 5% of births of first children in the EU in 2017 were to women aged less than 20 (teenage mothers), and around 3% to women aged 40 and over.

This information comes from recently published data by Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU.

A closer look at the figures for Malta show how 2,283 first born children were recorded in 2017.

Five per cent of these were born to teenage mothers. Around half of these were born to mothers aged between 20 and 29, while 44% were born to mothers aged between 30 and 39.

Just 1.6 per cent were born to Maltese mothers who were over the age of 40.

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