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Sweden's baby boom hits new high

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Sweden's baby boom hits new high
11:40 CET+01:00
Swedish women are giving birth to more babies than at any point since the earlier nineties, new figures show.

The country's fertility rate rose to 1.91 children born per woman in 2008, the highest rate since 1993, according to figures from Statistics Sweden (SCB) released on Friday.

"There were 109,301 children born in Sweden in 2008, which is 1,880 more than in 2007," out of a population of around 9.2 million, SCB said in a statement.

While Sweden has one of the highest fertility rates in the European Union thanks to its generous parental leave for both mothers and fathers, the rate is not high enough to renew the population.

A rate of 2.1 children would be needed for that, SCB said.

France is the European Union champion, with a birthrate of 2.02 children per woman, while non-EU member Iceland has Europe's highest rate of 2.14 children per woman.

SCB also noted that life expectancy was on the rise in Sweden.

"Average life expectancy also increased during the year," it said, adding that "since 1900, the average life expectancy has increased considerably for both men and women."

Girls born during the early decades of the 1900s could expect to live an average of 56.98 years, compared to 54.53 years for boys.

The agency said that girls born in 2008 would live an average of 83.15 years and boys 79.10 years.

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