By Daniel Stroe – BucharestLess than 180,000 babies were born in 2013, the lowest birth rate since the Second World War, Romania’s National Institute of Statistics (INS) warned yesterday, pointing out the phenomenon is likely to continue on a long term.“To replace the population on the same level we should have 2.2 children per woman. The current level is 1.4 children per woman” Tudorel Andrei, head of INS, explained.Official numbers show that 178,000 children were born last year. By comparison, in 1990, the first communist-free year, there had been almost 315,000 babies born. Until 2011, the first year with full impact of austerity measures which also envisaged mothers’ indemnities, the number never fell under 200,000. And the decline will not stop, Andrei also underlined.Thus, Romania’s population is assessed to decrease by 7.2 million by 2016, in a scenario with external migration, and by 6.9 million, in one without external migration. At the same time, the gender gap will narrow, women representing 51.5 % and, respectively, 52.2 % in the cases mentioned above.Silvia Pisica, director of the demography and social statistic agency, came up with other explanations. “The large majority of those who have left the country are between 25 and 45 years old, which the age fit to make children. On the other hand, let’s remember that marriages used to happen around the age of 22. Now the age when a couple thinks to have a child at is towards 30. So the average number of children per couple is on the wane. When Ceausescu’s baby boom occurred, there were 575,000 new born babies” she added, as quoted by Hotnews.The proportion of young population (0-14 years) will also diminish, going down from 15.9 %, as it is now, to 12.1-12.5 % in 2060, evaluations also show. The adult population (14-64 years) is also expected to shrink by 5.8 million 2060, reaching about 8 million. On the other hand, old population (over 65) will continue to grow, following the general European trend, INS says. In the interval 2002-2011, the old population grew from 14.1 % to 16.1 per cent.According to the final results of the census taken in 2011, Romania has a population of 21.1 million people. But the number is expected to be a little higher, since at that time more than 2 million Romanians were working abroad, mostly in Spain and Italy, and had no one else in their families left behind to answer questionnaires of the census takers. Compared to the previous census in 2002, the population decreased by 1.5 million people.