For the first time since the data series began, there have been more deaths than births in Spain. The birth rate fell again in 2015, resulting in 2,753 more deaths than births and, according to the Center for Demographic Studies, it’s an ongoing trend.
The study published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) indicated that the number of women of childbearing age has also dropped.
The study indicates that the number of women of childbearing age has also dropped
Births have fallen by 19.4% since 2008, when the biggest drop for three decades was registered. The current figure of 419,109 babies is the lowest since 2002 and 2% lower than the previous year.
Meanwhile, deaths rose to 422,276, 6.7% more than in 2014, making it the first time since 1941 that there have been more deaths than births – and the period may even be longer since the statistics prior to this date are not exact.
Pau Miret, a researcher from the Barcelona Autonomous University, points out that you would have to go back to before Spain’s Civil War (1936-1939) to find a similar result, although of course the circumstances are not comparable.
Miret says that in the next few years, the number of deaths will increase further as the aged population increases and will peak when the baby-boom generation starts to die out.
Researchers point out that you would have to go back to before Spain’s Civil War to find a similar result
To compensate for the number of deaths, there should be an increase in births, although Miret explains that to return to the early 20th-century average of three to five children per woman would not be sustainable due to the expansion at the top of the population pyramid.
The average number of children per woman last year was at 1.33, a hundredth of a percentage point higher than in 2014, since the number of women in the childbearing age bracket has also decreased.
The average age for having children has risen from 28.2 in 1981 to 31.9 in 2015. Of the total number of births last year, 74,849 or 17.8% were from foreign mothers. This group has an average of 1.65 children each compared to Spanish mothers, who have just 1.28 children each.
Population growth in seven Spanish regions
The population has risen in seven of Spain’s regions, but has decreased in 10. Without taking into account migratory trends, there was an increase in the Madrid region (17,912), Andalusia (8,546), Catalonia (5,092), Murcia (4,817), Balearic Islands (2,174), Canary Islands (1,067), Melilla (995), Ceuta (597) and Navarra (338). Meanwhile, the biggest population downturns occurred in Galicia (-12,269), Castille and León (-11,883) and Asturias (-7,089).
The number of births decreased all over Spain with the biggest falls in Ceuta (-9.1%), Melilla (-6.6%), Cantabria (-4.3%) and La Rioja (-3.5%). Deaths also increased across the country with the exception of Ceuta where the number dropped by 2.6%. The largest number of deaths occurred in Madrid (8.6%), Andalusia (8.5%) and Castille-La Mancha (8.2%).
The statistics for analyzing the Natural Population from the INE in 2015, also suggest that men reaching the age of 65 in 2015 can expect to live 18.8 years more while women can expect to live 22.7 years more. Life expectancy did however drop by two tenths on the previous year and now stands at an average of 82.7 with men at 79.9 years and women at 85.4.
English version by Heather Galloway.