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Fewer babies are born than ever before: Malaga birth rate hits new record low
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Fewer babies are born than ever before: Malaga birth rate hits new record low

The year 2023 saw 11,823 births in the province, 2.7% down on the previous year; meanwhile 14,557 deaths were recorded

Friday, 1 March 2024, 16:37

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The birth rate continues to fall unabated in Malaga province. Since 1941, which is the year in which the statistical register begins, there have never been fewer babies born in Malaga than in 2023: exactly 11,823. That is 325 fewer than the births in 2022, equivalent to a year-on-year percentage drop of 2.67%. In the last decade, only two years have escaped the downward trend in births in the province: 2014 and 2021. Compared to 2013, fertility has fallen by 24%.

This drop in the birth rate experienced in Malaga in 2023 is sharper than the national (-2.02%) and regional (-1.94%) averages. Within Andalucía, only Almeria suffered a greater fall (-3.33%). The other provinces also registered fewer births than the previous year, but the percentages are smaller. Even so, Malaga province, which includes the Costa del Sol, accounted for 19% of the total number of children born in the region last year.

This new fall in births has widened the deficit between births and deaths in the province. What is known in demography as vegetative or natural population growth (which is nothing more than the difference between births and deaths) has been negative since 2020. In 2023, 14,557 people died in the province of Malaga, which is 2,734 more than the births that same year. It is the arrival of new residents from outside the region (mainly from other countries, but also from within Spain) that is exclusively fuelling the strong population growth that Malaga has been experiencing in recent years.

Older mothers

The decrease in the number of births observed in recent years is accompanied by a delay in the age of motherhood. The number of births to mothers aged 40 or over has grown by 26% in Malaga in ten years, in contrast to the fall in the total number of births, which has been 24% in the same period.

While in 2013 there were 939 babies born to women over 40, in 2023 there were 1,184. The percentage represented by these babies has risen from 6% to 9%. And the opposite is true for the younger age group: ten years ago, 32% of children were born to mothers under 30 years of age and now the proportion is 27%.

Fewer deaths

The 2023 mortality figure (14,557 deaths) in Malaga province is 1% lower than in 2022. In absolute terms, there were 325 fewer deaths than in the previous year. This makes two consecutive years of a declining number of deaths after the exceptional high reached in 2021, put down to a mixture of direct and indirect effects of the pandemic.

The data come from the estimate of births and deaths carried out by the National Statistics Institute based on the registrations in the computerised civil registers, which are highly provisional and may undergo variations in the coming months.

In Spain, it is estimated that during 2023 there were a total of 322,075 births, a decrease of 2% compared to the previous year (6,629 fewer). The number of births, therefore, continues the downward trend of the last decade, only interrupted in 2014. Since 2013, the number of births in Spain has fallen by 24.1% (a figure almost identical to that of the province of Malaga).

In terms of deaths in Spain, in 2023 it is estimated that there were 435,331, 5.8% down on the previous year. By age and sex, the greatest decrease in deaths in relative terms was observed in persons between 85 and 89 years of age, both in men (with a decrease of 11.8% with respect to 2022) and in women (-9.9%).

The natural increase in the population (i.e. the difference between births and deaths in Spain) was negative by 113,256 persons according to provisional data for the year 2023.

Madrid and Extremadura escape the birth rate decline

Comparing the birth rate by region, the number of births only increased in 2023 in Madrid (2.7%) and Extremadura (0.6%). The largest falls were recorded in the cities of Melilla (-19.4%) and Ceuta (-11.8%), and in Castilla-La Mancha (-10.5%). Looking at the breakdown by province, there are only six provinces that escaped the fall in the birth rate. The best performer was Guipúzcoa, with an increase of 4.4%, followed by Madrid, Badajoz, Salamanca, León and Valencia. At the other end of the ranking is Guadalajara, which has suffered a 21.8% drop from one year to the next.

Deaths fell in all regions with respect to 2022. The largest decreases were in the city of Ceuta (-10.9%), Aragon (-10.6%) and the Basque Country (-8.4%).

The vegetative growth (births minus deaths) was negative in 2023 in all regions, except in Madrid (4,770), Murcia (729) and the Balearics (67), and in the cities of Melilla (250) and Ceuta (94). The largest negative growth figures were recorded in Galicia (-18,701), Castilla y León (-16,270) and Andalucía (-13,544).

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