Spanish Birthrate Declined over Five Per Cent During 2020 Pandemic Year

Mother with her newborn baby. Mother is holding her little baby girl. Photo with the effe
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Spain’s birthrate declined by over five per cent during 2020, further reducing the already low birthrate in the country, while the mortality rate jumped nearly 18 per cent.

In 2020 — a year of strict lockdowns and pandemic fears — Spain saw a total of 341,315 births, taking the birthrate down 5.35 per cent from the previous year, according to statistics published by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE).

Divided into sex, boys saw the larger drop at 5.76 per cent, while the number of girls being born in the country declined by 4.92 per cent, Spanish newspaper El Mundo reports.

Spanish nationals accounted for 264,128 of the births in 2020. Foreign nationals who gave birth to 77,187 children. Spanish women saw a decline greater than that of foreign women, at 5.68 per cent versus 4.20 per cent.

The number of children per woman, according to El Mundo, now sits at just 1.19, down from 1.24 in 2019 — one of the lowest annual birth rates in Spain since the 1990s, with statistics from the World Bank showing the country has been below the 2.1 replacement rate since 1980.

The INE statistics also reveal that the number of deaths in Spain had increased by 17.72 per cent or 10.4 deaths per one thousand inhabitants. Life expectancy at birth also fell 1.49 per cent to 82.33 years.

The figures further Spain’s existing demographic issues which have seen the population’s average age reach 43.9 years, the 19th-highest average age in the world according to Central Intelligence agency (CIA) statistics.

In 2019, former Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell — now High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the European Commission — stated that migrants may be the answer to Spain’s ongoing demographic crisis, arguing that the country needed “new blood”.

“Europe’s demographic evolution shows that unless we want to gradually turn into an ageing continent, we need new blood, and it doesn’t look like this new blood is coming from our capacity to procreate,” Borrell said.

Spain is not the only European country to deal with rapid demographic changes and low birth rates. In Italy, populist Senator Matteo Salvini recently rejected the idea of using mass migration to solve the problem, saying that his country should enact pro-family policies instead.

“My objective is to give economic serenity to Italians to encourage them to have children,” Salvini said last month and added, “I refuse to think of substituting ten million Italians with ten million migrants.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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