Spain’s Population Dwindling

November 27th, 2013

Spain’s Population DwindlingAccording to a recent report published by the National Statistics Institute on the short-term projections of the population from 2013-2023, Spain will lose 2.6 million of its population over the next 10 years (5.4% of the country’s population).

The report says that, as both the number of births and the number of new immigrants are declining, all regions will see their populations diminish, except for the Canary Islands, and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, while the regions to experience the biggest losses in population will be Catalonia, Valencia and La Rioja.

The Spanish population dropped in 2012 for the first time in the Institute’s statistical records, and all indications point to this trend continuing in 2013, with their prediction being that this year Spain will lose 0.5% of its population, dropping from 46.8 million to 46.7 million people.

The National Statistics Institute’s study warns that, from 2017, the number of deaths will exceed the number of births for the first time, due to “declining birth rates and population ageing”. In fact, the number of births has continued to decline since 2009, and the Institute reckons that, between 2013 and 2023, 3.9 million children will be born, which is 17.1% fewer than in the past decade, due to there being fewer women of childbearing age, and that in 10 years, the annual number of births will have fallen to 339,805, 24.9% less than in 2012.

In addition, net migration is negative for the fourth consecutive year, with two people leaving Spain for every person arriving to live in Spain. Specifically, a total of 591,515 people left Spain to live abroad this year, and 291,909 people arrived to stay in the country (7.1% less than in 2012), so that the difference resulted in a loss of 299,697 inhabitants.

The Institute’s statistical simulation for the next decade, based on current demographic trends and behaviours, shows more intense growth in the ageing population resident in Spain, “accelerated now by the declining birth rate and the negative migration balance”.

The population loss will be centred on those between 20 and 49 years of age, and in 2023 there will be 20% fewer children under the age of 10 than there are now. Meanwhile, all the age groups from 50 years and over will grow, so there will be 17% more elderly people than at present, and in 2023 the population will be reduced to 44.1 million people.

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