DEATHS outnumbered births in Spain by over 19,000 in the first half of 2015 according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). The news is in keeping with an INE prediction from last year which suggested a widening gap until 2062 that could contribute to a net population decrease of over 5 million people from the current level of 46 million.
The Spanish population has been shrinking since 2012 as the recession and high unemployment has led people to seek better opportunities abroad, piling more pressure on those of working age. Meanwhile small villages around the country have suffered as a countryside exodus has left many empty or with a dwindling elderly population.
With an average age of 43.2 years, Spain currently has the 10th oldest population in the world, and is expected to reach 4th place by 2030 according to the United Nations.
Europe itself is seriously affected by pressures related to aging populations, with over a third expected to be over 60 years old by 2050, expected to heavily impact social security and pension policies.
The trend also has political ramifications in Spain, with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expected to heavily court older voters in his bid for re-election, relying on their higher turn-out rate.