Since the economic crisis of 2008, Spain has seen a steady trend of increasingly fewer births. In the first half of 2016, 12,998 more people died than were born in Spain and the number of newborns fell by 4.6%.
Put simply, as El Pais reports, Spain’s population is shrinking at a rate of 72 people per day, essentially due to a historically low birthrate, according to a study released by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
The survey also found that there were fewer deaths (7.8% less) and fewer marriages (2.7% less) in the first half of 2016 than in the first half of 2015.
The dearth of newborns was especially acute in Catalonia and Aragón, as well as in the exclave city of Melilla. In the first half of 2016, Catalonia had 9% fewer births, Melilla saw a baby decrease of 7.4% and Aragón had 6% fewer births than in the first half of last year.
On the other hand, the Balearic Islands, Ceuta and Asturias all saw slight increases in the number of births – between 0.6% and 1.5%.
“Spain has sailed through the 20th century in a complete blank when it comes to demographic policies, and there is no hint that this will be corrected,” Julio Vinuesa, a demographer at Madrid’s Autónoma University, warns, adding that “we are witnessing a rapid decline in births and it seems that nobody cares. In the short term it is a relief because it means less spending for families and for the state, and nobody is complaining because no one stops to think about the future consequences.”
Those consequences include slower growth (or absolute contraction)…
As El Pais notes, British economist Paul Wallace, author of Agequake, which investigates the causes and effects of population aging, has argued that the major investment for any society must be in its own replacement. In this case, Spain has failed, with a major driver seemingly that the percentage of young people between 25 and 29 who still lived with their families at home, often unemployed or holding precarious jobs, exceeded 60 percent, compared with ratios below 20 percent in Germany, France and Britain.
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In any event, the experts say that Spain isn’t getting any younger. By
2066, Spain’s population, currently around 46.4 million, will have
shrunk by around 5.4 million, suggests another study released by the INE
in October… think what that would mean for economic growth!!