MADRID, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE) on Tuesday said the country saw 179,794 births and 226,384 deaths in the first six months of 2018, the worst demographic balance since 1941.
According to the study "Statistics of the Natural Movement of the Population (Births, Deaths and Marriages)" published by INE, the first six months of 2018 saw a 5.8 percent drop in fertility rates compared to the same period in 2017, while the death rate increased by 2 percent.
Spanish press have speculated that the rise in the number of deaths could be due to a particularly virulent strain of flu which affected Spain at the start of 2018.
It should be pointed out that 1941 was a time of deep crisis in Spain, just two years after the end of the Spanish Civil War when large parts of the country were suffering widespread hunger and the government of General Franco was still carrying out reprisals against members of the defeated Republican forces.
Tuesday's data continues the tendency for more deaths than births in Spain which began in 2015 and the difference would have been greater had it not been for migrants families, with 20 percent of all births being to a non-Spanish born mother.
The main reason for the falling birth rate is that less Spaniards are getting married.
The INE study shows that a 5.7 percent fall in the number of marriages between January and June 2018 (almost exactly the same as the reduction in fertility rates) with fewer people getting married in 12 of Spain's 17 Autonomous Communities.