According to statistics made public Tuesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE): the number of births has fallen for the first time in the last decade. In 2009, 5% fewer children (just over 25,000 children) were born.

Without a doubt the new figures reveal how the economic crisis has put extreme pressure on families. With over 20 per cent unemployment in Spain and practically zero job prospects, couples are less and less encouraged to have children. Not to forget the austerity measures implemented by Spanish PM José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero which included the removal of state benefits such as the 2,500 euro-cheque for families that have a child or adopt one. Despite the obvious, INE has pointed towards a “combined effect” of a progressive reduction in the number of women in childbearing age and lower fertility.

In 2009 492,931 children were born, down 5 per cent from the 518,503 births in 2008. This is the first decrease in a decade. The birth rate dropped from 11.37 births per 1,000 inhabitants to 10.73 births. The births of babies of foreign mothers, representing one in five, decreased by 6%, according to data on the Natural Population Movement and basic demographic indicators released Tuesday by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

In 2009, 383 486 people died in Spain, 0.7% less than in 2008. The crude death rate has dropped from 8.43 per thousand to 8.35. This maintenance of deaths with the slowdown in the birth rate has reduced the natural population growth in Spain in 2009.

The Spanish also appear to have lost their passion for wedlock with 2009 seeing 10.8 per cent less marriages than in 2008. In 21.3 per cent of marriages (36,715) at least one spouse was a foreigner. 46.8 per cent of these marriages took place between Spanish men and foreign women and 32.1 per cent among Spanish women and foreign men. In 20.1 per cent of these cases, both partners were from other countries.

Image credits.