Spain's demographic problems

Deaths outnumber births in Spain


Recession and high unemployment have encouraged many citizens to (1)seek/search/look better prospects abroad


Spain, long concerned (2) for/of/about its ageing population and emptying countryside, has passed a milestone in population decline, recording more deaths than births in the first half of this year.

Deaths exceeded births by more than 19,000 in the first half of 2015, a turnaround from a year earlier when there were nearly 4,000 more births than deaths, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said.

Spain has not consistently experienced more deaths than births since its 1936-39 civil war or the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, according to news reports. Deaths (3)shortly/briefly/quickly exceeded births in early 1999, but demographers considered that a blip, while now they see it as the start of a longer trend.

The INE predicted last year that a trend of more deaths than births would begin in 2015 and the gap would continue to widen until 2062. It said the country’s population, now (4)numbering/figuring/adding more than 46 million, would probably fall by more than a million over the next 15 years and by 5.6 million over the next 50 years.

Spain’s population has been (5)lowering/shrinking/lessening since 2012 because of net migration as recession and high unemployment encouraged people to (1)seek(search/look better prospects abroad. Demographers say that the crossover of the birth and death rates could accelerate the decline.

An exodus from the countryside has also left many small villages abandoned or with (5)lowering/shrinking/lessening elderly populations.

Spain, one of many European countries facing a (5)lowering/shrinking/lessening workforce and increasing (6)burdens/hurdles/weights on its social security system, has the 10th oldest population in the world, with an average age of 43.2 years.

The country is projected to move up to fourth oldest, with an average age of 50.1 years, by 2030, according to a United Nations report in July.

Its large elderly population could (7)make/play/undergo a significant role in the Spanish general election on 20 December, for which the centre-right prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has courted older citizens votes by protecting pensions.

Europe is the continent most affected by an ageing population. The UN said that 34% of its population would be over the age of 60 by 2050.

Increased immigration could help to (8)rewind/return/reverse the trend and hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Syria and other war-torn states have been (9)amassing/flocking/gathering to Europe. The European Union has (10)clashed/struggled/wrestled to agree a plan to take in just 120,000 of them.

 
 

Choose a word in 1-10 to complete the text.

Does this trend worry you?

Comments

Select a word:

1) search
2) about
3) briefly
4) numbering
5) shrinking
6) burdens
7) play
8) reverse
9) flocking
10) clashed

My opinion:

I think that demographic problems in Spain and Europe can be one of the greatest challenges in the XXI century. Also, I would say that Governments don't pay the necessary attention to the evolution of the population. In my opinion, this is for one reason: our politicians don't work for the future generations, they are just worried about the future elections. They don't create solutions in order to have a healthier system in 50 years from now. Nevertheless, they use their time to design laws which make them more powerful and the country, weaker. For these reasons I am sure that demographic issues are one of the most important business nowadays and ironically, one of the most forgotten.
Graham said…
Hi Maria,

Apologies for the delay in replying to you. Better late than never :-)

1) search WRONG (It'd be search for stg) seek RIGHT
2) about RIGHT
3) briefly RIGHT
4) numbering RIGHT
5) shrinking RIGHT
6) burdens RIGHT
7) play RIGHT
8) reverse RIGHT
9) flocking RIGHT
10) clashed WRONG struggle (to do stg) RIGHT


I think that Spain has a serious problem. It's death rate is higher than it's birth rate. If you add the facts that many foreign workers have packed their bags and returned to their country of origin , and a large number of young Spaniards are opting to make a living abroad - then you have trouble.


I like the way that you express yourself in your writing. :-)

Anonymous said…
Spain's demographic problems

Choose a word in 1-10 to complete the text.

1: look
2: about
3: briefly
4: figuring
5: lessening
6: burden on
7: play
8: reverse
9: flocking
10: struggled

Hi Graham, I think that...
The ageing population it’s a serious problem in Spain, indeed. I wouldn’t know to say what would be the best solution for this problem. I have been able to check the depth of this problem in the summers, in August, when I spend the holidays in a little town of Galicia, in the inner of the region. I like walking in the countryside. I can walk for one hour or two, but it’s quite unlikely to meet people during my walk. The farmers work in the farms, where everything related to milking cows is machining with the computers. The farmers only go to the main town by car, but my father in law told me when he was a child there were more population in the little villages, more children and people moved from their house to the main town riding a horse. So times have changed a lot, the situation, now, is quite different, but if it`s true that the people live in this territory better than in the past, the future is threatened by the ageing population and the low birth rate.
How to solve this problem? I understand that is difficult to find a satisfactory solution, especially when all the country is under a terrible crisis and a lot of young people have decided to work abroad because they don’t find opportunities here. Beside of the problem of the emigration of young people, I think there is another problem: the people in Spain don’t like working in the countryside, they have lost interest in this kind of work. So, the solution could be to organize new settlements with foreign people. It would be a new way, cleverer, more rational of taking in immigrants.

José Luis professor
Graham said…
Hi JL,

Your idea of creating new settlements with foreign people sounds like a plan from your friend The Donald.

We should celebrate the fact that people are living longer, though it does mean the retirement age will rise still further. It is something which won't prove popular.

And it is by no means a tragedy if a young person has to go abroad to find work. It can be a wonderful experience.

1: seek sb/stg (look/search for stg/sb)
2: about
3: briefly
4: numbering + number, figure = think/imagine
5: shrinking population, stg lessens
6: burden on
7: play
8: reverse
9: flocking to a place
10: struggled to do stg

Hi Graham, I think that...
The ageing population is indeed a serious problem in Spain. I wouldn’t know what the best solution for this problem would be. I was able to check the depth of this problem in the summer, when I spent the holidays in a little town of Galicia, in the inner of the region. I like walking in the countryside. I can walk for one hour or two, but it’s quite unlikely to meet people during my walk. The farmers work in the farms, where everything related to milking cows is machining with the computers. The farmers only go to the main town by car, but my father in law told me when he was a child there was a bigger population in the little villages, more children and people moved from their house to the main town riding a horse. So times have changed a lot, the situation, now, is quite different, but if it`s true that people live in this territory better than in the past, the future is threatened by the ageing population and the low birth rate. (be careful = English sentences are not nearly as long as Spanish ones)

How to solve this problem? I understand that it is difficult to find a satisfactory solution, especially when the whole country is going through a terrible crisis and a lot of young people have decided to work abroad because they don’t find opportunities here. Besides the problem of the emigration of young people, I think there is another problem: people in Spain don’t like working in the countryside, they have lost interest in this kind of work. So, the solution could be to organize new settlements with foreign people. It would be a new way, cleverer, more rational of taking in immigrants.