Madrid – The number of births in Spain fell 2 percent last year to 484,055, which translates into 10.51 births for every 1,000 residents, the lowest rate since 2003.
At the other end of the spectrum, average life expectancy rose to 82 years overall, with a projected lifespan of 84.9 years for women and 78.9 years for men.
Those are among the findings of the 2010 population survey, released Thursday by the National Statistics Institute, or INE.
Births fell for the second consecutive year after a decade of continuous growth, a trend the INE attributes to a decline in the number of women in their child-bearing years, noting that the fertility rate fell only slightly in 2010.
Deaths also decreased last year, bringing the mortality rate down from 8.34 deaths per 1,000 residents to 8.22.
While foreign-born residents now represent more than 12 percent of Spain's population, they accounted for only 2.8 percent of deaths, reflecting the younger age profile of immigrants.
Of the 169,020 marriages registered in Spain last year, 2.1 percent involved same-sex couples, up from 1.7 percent in 2009.
Marriages declined by 3.6 percent in 2010 amid continuing economic woes and unemployment of more than 20 percent.