Last year lowest birth rate in 80 years in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
birth rate
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The number of births in Spain fell by 1.2% to 337,380 in 2021. That means 3,935 fewer children were born than in 2020, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE). This is a new low since the historical birth rate series began in 1941, 81 years ago.  

There has been a downward trend in the number of births in recent years. In 2008, the figure stood at 519,779. Since then, however, the number has gradually declined, with the exception of a small rise in 2014.  

In the following years, the number of births recorded were:

  • 2009 – 494,997
  • 2010 – 486,575
  • 2011 – 471,999
  • 2012 – 454,648
  • 2013 – 425,715
  • 2014 – 427,595
  • 2015 – 420,290
  • 2016 – 410,583
  • 2017 – 393,181
  • 2018 – 372,777
  • 2019 – 360,617
  • 2020 – 341,315
  • 2021 – 337,380

Also read: Birth rate in Spain drops to lowest level ever

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Declining death rate  

The number of deaths decreased by 8.7% in 2021 compared to the 2020. A total of 450,744 people died, 43,032 fewer than in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, when the maximum was recorded since the series began in 1941.  

This means Spain had a negative natural increase of 113,364 in 2021. The difference between births and deaths decreased by 39,097 people compared to the previous year. 2020 saw the most negative balance at 152,461 persons since the data were recorded.  

State of Catholic marriage  

In 2021, there were 24,957 Catholic marriages in Spain, 15,293 more (+158.2%) than in 2020, with less than 10,000 marriages a low point in the historical series. There was an exception to the downward trend in 2021, when many church marriages were performed that had previously been postponed due to the pandemic. 

There were 152,067 church marriages in 2001, 62,977 in 2011 and only 34,615 in 2019. Of all opposite-sex marriages in 2021, 17% were Catholic, compared with almost 40% in 2011 and 73% in 2001. 

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