From Baby-Boom to Baby-Crash: birth rate is dropping in SpainLaurence Lemoine
It is an absolute record for this country, something that has not occurred since 1941: in the last few months, Spain observes its lowest birth rates, according to the brand-new data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INSEE). December 2020 shows the lowest figures, totalling with only 23,226 births in the whole country, that is to say 20,4% less than in December 2019.
With regard to last January and February, the decline is clear: a total of 48,282 births were registered, being 14,9% less than during the same period in 2020. For the third month in a row, the number of births in Spain does not exceed 25,000.
There are differences between regions: last January, the amount dropped to 27.9% in Cantabria, 24.7% in Asturias, 24.5% in the “Comunitat Valenciana” and 23.6% in both Catalonia and the “Comunidad de Madrid”. On the other hand, the decrease noted in Rioja is only 2.6% and 10.7% in Aragón.
Even though the birth rate has been following a downward trend for several years, the phenomenon has grown in importance in the last nine months following Spain’s first lockdown in March 2020.
However, the drop in birth rates is also reaching other European countries.
The countries more affected by the pandemic seem to be the ones with the lowest birth rates. France, for example, suffered a significant drop: -7% in December 2020 and -13% in January 2021. Regarding Italy, as much as 384.000 inhabitants lost their lives in a single year. Thus, the country decided to take up arms against the demographic decline by guaranteeing a monthly 250€ bonus to every family willing to have a child and for as long as 21 years. Asia, Russia and the United States are not being spared either by such phenomenon.
Northern European countries seem to handle the situation better: in Denmark, birth rate has stayed more or less the same, Germany and the Netherlands are doing fine and Iceland even experienced a slight increase.
Yet, it would be invalid to take Covid-19 as the only culprit for the drop in birth rates, as the curve had already started to decline before the pandemic.
During the first months of lockdown, the observers were already speculating on a probable “Baby-Boom”, even so it is more of a “Baby-flop” for 2020 which is most likely to turn out to be a “Baby-Crash” in 2021.