By any measure, Germany should be the perfect country in Europe to have kids and raise a family. Laws guarantee most working mothers two-thirds of their salaries for a year, pay them monthly support once a child is born and provide low-cost daycare.
Still, despite a concerted effort to convince Germans to have more children, Germany has one of the lowest birth rates in the European Union and in the world.
Economists warn that an aging population threatens Germany’s future prosperity. “That beautiful life we have will turn into desperation in 15 years,” wrote Hans-Werner Sinn, the president of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, one of the country’s leading economic research institutes, in WirtschaftsWoche.
The reason for more than one in five women in Germany deciding not to have children can be traced to a lack of available day care, but also to the fear of not being able to combine work and children harmoniously in their lives.