Pandemic causes Spain worst demographic crisis since Civil War

by Deborah Cater
Demographic crisis deepens in Spain
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In 2020, the statistics agency INE recorded the highest death and lowest birth rate since registration began in 1941. As a result of the corona pandemic, a total of nearly 493,000 people died in Spain last year, which is 18% more than in 2019. For many this is a demographic crisis.

That mortality was not compensated by an increase in the number of births, which fell by almost 6% compared to 2019. In short, with 153,167 more deaths than births, Spain ended 2020 with the largest negative balance in history. 

Population decline triples in 2020

The negative balance in 2020 was three times larger than that of 2019.  That year (2019), was already in the record books as the year with the largest population decline since registration started. Furthermore, in 2020, the average age at which women in Spain have their first child rose from 32.2 years in 2019 to 32.3.

For first two months of last year, the death rate was similar to the same period in 2019. In fact, fewer people died than in January and February of the previous year. In March, the coronavirus took a radical turn and 58,124 people died that month versus 37,058 in 2019.

April 2020 blackest month

In the end, April was the month in which the difference with 2019 was greatest. Then 60,951 people died in Spain, which is an increase of more than 78% compared to April 2019. In April last year, the highest number of deaths in one day was also recorded. registered- there were no fewer than 900.

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As of December 31, 2020, the Ministry of Health registered 50,837 deaths from covid-19. This does not include the people who died during the first corona peak, as covid-19 was not yet confirmed by the laboratories at the time. The average annual death rate of 420,825 in the period 2015 and 2019, compared to that of nearly 493,000 in 2020, illustrates the impact of the coronavirus on the public health of Spain.

Highest death rate in Madrid

Most people died last year in the Madrid region, where the death rate last year was 41.17% higher than in 2019. The neighbouring regions of Castile-La Mancha and Castile and León took second and third place with increases of 32.33%.  The least significant increase in the death rate was registered in the Canary Islands (4.19%), Galicia (4.97%) and Murcia (5.78%).

Birth rate continues to fall

In 2020, 21,411 fewer children were born in Spain than in the previous year. That is the biggest drop since 2013 and the lowest birth rate since registrations began.

The 2021 birth rate will show the impact of the pandemic and the prolonged lockdown on the number of births. For the time being, this is not expected to increase. It would make 2021 the seventh year in a row with a declining birth rate. Only in 2008 were relatively few children born in Spain, with 519,770. That was still almost 200,000 more than in 2020.

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