2022 babies ‘outnumbering’ those born in 2021

1,402 more born in first three months than born in same period last year

It’s the best news to come out of Portugal’s dwindling demographics for a long time: this year is showing more babies being born so far than last – albeit births are still at the lowest ebb for almost a decade

Data released today by INSA (national health institute Dr Ricardo Jorge) shows that the first three months of 2022 saw 1,402 MORE babies born than during the same period last year.

March was the best month, registering 7,097 “heel prick tests” (taken on the 3rd day of life); followed by January (6,482) and then February (6,049): in total 19,628 new Portuguese citizens

Lisbon was the district with most heel-prick tests performed (5,774), followed by Porto (3,617), Setúbal (1,546), Braga (1,479), Aveiro (1,091) and Faro (taking in the Algarve – 1,082).

The least number of babies appear to have been born in Guarda (135 tests), Portalegre (147) and Castelo Branco (231).

Results from the heel-prick test are as close to reflecting the number of births in the country as any data collected separately from hospitals and then added up together could be.

Even mothers who have ‘home-births’ – a practice that is becoming increasingly popular – submit babies for these tests, as they are able to detect up to 25 congenital diseases at a point where early treatment will save a lot of heartache and illness – even save lives.

It’s now a matter of waiting to see what the rest of the year brings.

Between 1984-2008, Portugal’s heel prick test results “always exceeded 100,000” babies – the largest number receiving them in 2000 (118,577).

But since then numbers have been declining: 2020 for example registered the ‘lowest number of all time’: 85,456 – only to be pushed from that slot in 2021 with only 79,217 babies born.

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