Marbella's foreign residents continue to prop up the town's falling birth rate

The Maternity ward at the Costa del Sol Hospital.
The Maternity ward at the Costa del Sol Hospital. / SUR
  • Four out of ten mothers that pass through the Costa del Sol Hospital are from outside Spain, a figure that rises to 50% in the private sector

In 2017, recorded population growth in the province of Malaga was highest within the municipalities of Marbella and Malaga. The number of registered residents in the Marbella area increased by 6,000 to 147,000. Of the new population, 5,000 are from mothers who come from outside Spain, which has meant that Marbella has experienced a far less pronounced fall in birth rate than in the rest of the province and in the country as a whole.

According to data from the National Institute of Statistics, the decrease in birth rate in the province of Malaga last year was over six per cent. On the Costa del Sol, it was one per cent lower, as the number of recorded births at the Costa del Sol Hospital fell from 2,720 to 2,568 between 2016 and 2017.

However, the proportion of foreign mother giving birth at the hospital has reached 37%. The largest group of foreign mothers continues to be those of Moroccan origin, followed by those from Latin American countries.

In private health clinics, this percentage is even higher. At QuirónSalud in Marbella, 50% of new mothers are of foreign origin, according to head of Gynaecology, Francisco Jesús González. Here, alongside those of Moroccan and Latin American heritage, a large number of the new parents are from eastern Europe and the United Arab Emirates.

Though the Costa del Sol Hospital registered a one per cent increase in birth rate in 2016, this is considered to be an anomaly against the countrywide decline. The fall in the number of births is equally prominent at QuirónSalud, which recorded 496 births in 2016 and 442 in 2017. "Between January and May of this year we saw an average of 1.22 births per day, which we believe is an appropriate figure considering the drop in birth rates in the rest of the country," says Francisco Jesús González.

Marbella has experienced a decrease in birth rates for almost a decade and, like in the rest of Spain, the trend shows no signs of stopping, despite the increasing number of children born to foreign mothers in the area.