Researchers admit that their understanding of the relatively high French birth rate still retains a degree of mystery.
"For every rule you can come up with you find an exception," said Grant. Pison agreed: "There is a bit of mystery. We are doing studies but we don’t yet have all the secrets."
For example, it is sometimes suggested that because the two most fertile countries in Europe — France and Ireland — are mainly Roman Catholic countries, the Catholic tradition of having large families would help explain the high birth rates.
But Italy and Spain, two other Catholic countries, fall near the bottom of the EU list, in 16 and 17th position.
Experts also point out that while France’s fertility rate can partly be attributed to generous social support, Ireland is more fertile and does not have as many incentives.
The article, like almost every one I’ve seen, declines to look at the impact of Muslim immigrants’ fertility rate as a factor in the total. I really don’t understand why – we do in the States, as we consider the impact of the fertility rates of Hispanic immigrants on the total US demographic.