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Society

COVID-19 Pandemic Braked Greek Weddings, Births Fall Hard

ATHENS – Another side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Greece has seen weddings falling 30 percent during the more than 15-month-long health crisis, with the number of births also dropping hard.

Those were the findings of a study by the University of Thessaly, said Kathimerini, with researchers discovering people cancelled planned weddings during lockdowns that either barred them or would have limited attendance.

On top of the financial worries the pandemic brought, with hundreds of thousands of people kept from their jobs when non-essential businesses were temporarily closed, the fear of the virus prevented planned unions.

The pandemic “increased existing insecurity about the future among younger ages and its economic impact,” the report said, also warning of the effects of a dwindling population economically.

In Greece, only about 12 percent of children are born outside of a marriage as some customs are dying hard, including a stigma for sex outside a legal union even in the 21st Century.

In September, 2018 the Hellenic Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology, projected that Greece’s population by 2050 will be older and reduced by anything between 800,000 and 2.5 million people, with low birth rates and an exodus leading to a population decline.

In Greece, the association said, the fertility rate – children per couple – was then at 1.26 compared to 1.49 in the European Union. Experts say the fertility rate must be at least 2.1 for a population to remain stable.

That report was about the impact of a near decade-long economic and austerity crisis that has now been compounded by the pandemic, with fewer births and a declining population meaning fewer people paying pensioners and dramatically affecting the country's economy.

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