Spain: Birth Rate Falls Dramatically – Brief Article

Spain: Birth Rate Falls Dramatically – Brief Article – Statistical Data Included

UN WIRE (March 1, 2000): http://www.unfoundation.org

“UN figures indicate Spain’s birth rates are the lowest in the world, the Associated Press reports. Spanish women have an average of 1.07 children, but a 2.1 average is needed for a generation to replace itself, demographers say.

‘Basically, at this point, if it were not for immigrants, our population would drop,’ said Florentina Alvarez, Spanish National Statistics Institute demographer. The Spanish birth rate has been dropping since 1976, when it was 2.8 births per woman.

Sociologists attribute the decline in birth rates to economic factors, including 15% unemployment, low salaries and unaffordable housing.

Additionally, 40% of women are now in the workforce, compared with 28% in the mid-1980s – and Spanish working women generally get little help with their domestic responsibilities. ‘Spain is one of those countries where equal distribution of domestic chores has not taken root,’ according to Margarita Delgado of the Superior Council for Scientific Research.

Officials concede Spain must do more to promote a higher birth rate, since it cannot depend on immigrants to fill gaps in its population. Other European countries are in a similar predicament. Italy’s fertility rate is 1.2, France’s 1.26 and Germany’s 1.3 (Daniel Woolls, AP/Nando.net, 28 Feb.).”

COPYRIGHT 2000 Women’s International Network

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