THE ALGARVE is the only region in Portugal where the number of births has risen in the past five years. Dr. Rui Lourenço, the president of the Administração Regional de Saúde (ARS)/Algarve, believes this is due to the internal and external migration in the region.
According to Dr. Lourenço, the results of 2004 indicated that the average birth rate for the Algarve was 1.7 children per mother, with the national average being 1.4 children per mother. In 2000, the region had a birth rate of 1.6 children per mother, which was the same as the national rate at the time. According to figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), 109,356 babies were born in Portugal in 2004, of which 4,772 were born in the Algarve.
With respect to the national figures, the birth rate has decreased annually, between 2000 and 2004, with 120,071 and 109,356 births respectively. Provisional figures supplied by the INE suggest that the birth rate decreased further in 2005, with 90 births less than the previous year. Recent figures from ARS/Algarve showed that the growth continued in the Algarve in 2005, with 4,842 births in the two maternity hospitals in the region (Faro and Portimão), 182 more than the previous year.
The ARS/Algarve has also produced figures indicating that the number of foreigners giving birth in the Algarve has increased consistently over the years. In 2000, there were 216 births to foreign mothers, rising to 297 in 2001, 407 in 2002, 583 in 2003, 663 in 2004 and 777 in 2005.
According to INE statistics, the Algarve is the only region in Portugal that has not followed the decreasing trend. In the north of Portugal, there were 37,999 babies born in 2004 (39,903 in 2003), in the centre there were 21,854 (22,361 in 2003), in the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo 31,614 (32,383 in 2003), in the Açores 3,007 (3064 in 2003) and in Madeira 2,978 (3,117 in 2003).