The latest statistics announced ahead of next week's World Population Day show that the average age at which Turkish women give birth is 28 and families favor having two or three children.
Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) figures released on Friday focus on this year's theme of family planning. In Turkey, more than 60 percent of households with a nuclear family had at least one child, based on 2016 figures.
The average age of women giving birth in Turkey was 28.1 in 2016, according to the TurkStat figures, while it was 28 in 2015. Graphics accompanying the survey indicate a rise in the age women give birth since 2001, pointing out a change in Turks' family planning trends. It is likely that rising employment for women and developments in maternity medicine contributed to the trend, although TurkStat did not give a reason.
The survey also looks into a hotly debated issue as well - the number of children a family should have. TurkStat says the number of children individuals want under appropriate conditions is two according to 32 percent of interviewed people. Another 31.4 percent want to have three children. As the desired number of children under appropriate conditions was analyzed by sex, the most common number of children women want was two, with 33.1 percent of female respondents, while it was three for 31.6 percent of male respondents.
In the face of an aging population, Turkish authorities strive to encourage couples to have more children. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan champions the case by advising all newlywed couples he comes across to have at least three children. "One will be lonesome, two will be rivals, three will be fine," Erdoğan says on every occasion he dispels his advice. Recent statistics indicate a decline in the youth population, as Turkey is challenged by the phenomenon of an aging populace in the coming decades. Figures show the proportion of the youth population was 28.7 percent, 22.8 million, at the end of 2016. It is a concerning decline compared to 1935 when children in the fledgling Republic of Turkey constituted 45 percent of the population. The country, which has a population of more than 78 million people, hopes to boost its population numbers by offering incentives to larger families such as longer paid leave and social benefits.
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