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?