Demographically unbalanced.jpg

Demographically unbalanced

PORTUGAL REGISTERED more deaths than births in 2007 according to the Portuguese National Statistics Institute.

According to records stretching back to 1900 for births and deaths, the Portuguese natural population, not taking into account emigration or immigration, had grown until last year when it fell for the first time.

In 2007, there were 103,727 deaths and 102,213 births – a difference of 1,514.

Global figures for the Portuguese population are presented every five years and published in the Statistics Bulletin.

According to the latest data, every Portuguese woman has on average 1.36 children, there are 110 people over 65 for every 100 young people under 30, 20.7 per cent of the elderly live alone, between 1990 and 2006 the over 65 population has grown 30 per cent, those over 80 represent 4.1 per cent of the population, while the average life expectancy is 74.1.

Mário Leston Bandeira, the President of the National Association for Portuguese Demography, said: “It’s plain to see that we’re entering a phase of what is known as negative natural growth or put another way there are more deaths than births.”

He added that Portugal was following a pattern that was happening in other European countries. One of the reasons was that sexual equality, contraception and women going out to work and having careers meant that families were getting smaller.

On the other hand, the post-war baby boom generation of the 1950s and 1960s was approaching retirement age.

Rui Vaz Osório for the National Commission of Premature Births said: “We’re hitting rock bottom in terms of the birth rate, and it’s hard to imagine that the birth rate could fall any further than this. We’re already demographically unbalanced.”

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