MADRID – With just under 337,000 babies born last year, Spain saw its lowest number of births since registration began in 1941, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The median age to give birth in Spain also reached an all-time high at 32.6 years old. For mothers born in Spain, the median age reached 33 for the first time, the study by Spain’s National Bureau of Statistics (INE) revealed. Between 2011 and 2021, the number of annual births in Spain fell by 29%.
Dramatic drop in the Spanish population
With just 1.19 children born per woman, Spain’s historically low birth rate suggests that the country’s population will drop dramatically. That is, however, unless there is continued immigration. A 2019 UN report predicts that by 2050, Spain will have the third-highest old-age dependency ratio in the world. That is after Japan and South Korea.
Second highest death rate ever in 2021
The number of births was far outnumbered by the number of deaths, with 450,687 people dying in 2021. That is the second-highest figure on record. The highest-ever death rate was reached in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic raged and no one had yet been vaccinated.
Pandemic may have impacted the low birth rate
According to the INE, the pandemic may also have impacted Spain’s low birth rate. Figures show that births were lower in the first part of 2021, reflecting a decline in conception during the country’s severe lockdown in March and April of 2020.
Economic conditions weigh heavily
Experts suggest that economic conditions are one of the main obstacles to having children in Spain.
A study released Tuesday by Save the Children estimates that it costs an average of €672 a month to raise a child in Spain – 18% more than in 2018. The average salary in Spain is about €1,700 a month, it turns out. from a recent study by employment agency Adecco.
Nearly a third of all children in Spain are at risk of poverty
According to Eurostat, Spain has the third highest percentage of children at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU, after Romania and Bulgaria. Almost a third of all children in Spain fall into this category.