Birth rate falls again.jpg

Birth rate falls again

PORTUGAL’S BIRTH rate fell in 2006, with over 3,000 less babies being born than in the previous year.

Last year, the number of Guthrie tests, a routine exam for newborn babies to check for congenital diseases, carried out in Portugal totalled 105,138, representing a decrease of 3,580 against the 2005 figure. The official number of births for 2006 has not yet been confirmed by the Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE), the national statistics institute, but the Guthrie test figures are considered to be a reliable indicator, due to the fact that virtually every baby born in the country is given the exam.

The birth rate in Portugal peaked in the year 2000, but has been lowering every year since then. In 2006, the number of Guthrie tests carried out was the lowest since the mid 90s. In 1995, 107,184 babies were born in Portugal and the number of Guthrie tests (given to just under 98 per cent of all newborns in that year) totalled 104,963. Currently, the percentage in terms of coverage for the test is 99.3 per cent.

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