The birth rate in Spain is still not rising. / SUR

It isn't the 'pandemic effect': the birth rate in Spain is still not rising

Estimated figures show that there's still a historically low number of births in the country

N. TRIGUERO / A. TORICES MALAGA.

The estimated figures for births in the first half of this year reveal that the birth rate in Spain remains at the historic low it reached last year. Between January and June this year. 159,705 children were born, which was barely 200 more than the same period last year, which itself reflected a fall of five per cent compared with 2020. The good news is that it didn't drop any further; the bad news is that it can no longer be attributed to the so-called pandemic effect.

The pronounced downward curve in the birth rate began in 2008, at the start of the economic crisis. In that year, between January and June, 255,062 babies were born in Spain, practically 100,000 more than now, representing a fall of around 37 per cent. The fact that many unemployed immigrants left during the past decade, the significant drop in the percentage of women of fertile age due to the ageing of the population and the increasing delays in having a first child have done the rest.

The breakdown showing the ages of new mothers confirms that more women are delaying becoming pregnant. In the first six months of the year, 100,623 babies were born to mothers aged 30 to 40, which was two thirds of the total.

A delay of this type in the age of first pregnancies and the consequent lower number of children per woman is not surprising in a country where the average youth unemployment rate is double that of the rest of the continent, with more precarious jobs, property prices sky high and the age of leaving home at around 30, three years later than the EU average.