Madrid (ACN).- The Catalan population would decrease in 2011 for the first time in decades, according to a study from the Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE) released on Friday. Catalonia would lose 59,929 people in just one year according to the INE. This means it would be the Spanish territory with the largest population loss in absolute terms. At the end of 2010, Catalonia had 7,512,000 inhabitants and past projections for 2011 indicated a total population of 7,535,000. However, the INE has refined those projections with the latest data available. Spain has a total loss of 34,193 people. Therefore, Spain would pass to have 47,021,000 inhabitants in 2010 to 46,986,807. The Basque Country (with 2.17 millions of inhabitants) would loose 11,332 residents in 2011. According to the INE forecast, Spain’s demographic loss would continue in the next year. In the next 10 years, Spain would loose 1.2% of its population if the current demographic trends continue. In addition, from 2019 onwards, deaths will overtake births. The aging population, low birth rates and the return of immigrants back to their home countries explains the general population loss.
For the first time in decades, the population would shrink in many parts of Spain, and particularly in Catalonia. According to the INE’s projections, this 2011 loss of population will continue in the coming decade, losing about 50,000 inhabitants each year.
After years hosting immigrants, Catalonia is beginning to experience negative migration balance from 2011. Combining the immigrants that return to their home countries and the people born in Catalonia deciding to live abroad, around 82,000 people will be lost, according to the INE. This figure represents more than half of Spain’s negative migration balance (-130,859).
The population’s rate of natural increase –the difference between deaths and births– will remain positive in Catalonia in 2011, with 22,233 people. It will remain positive during the entire decade but, in 2020, it will begin to be negative, with 147 more deaths than births, if demographic trends remain as the present.
In the whole of Spain, there will be a progressive reduction in the birth rate, a trend initiated in 2009. This means that between 2011 and 2020, 4.4 million children will be born in Spain. It would represent 4.7% less births than in the past decade.