Spain will see more deaths than births in 2017, the National Statistics Institute, or INE, said Friday, forecasting that the Iberian nation's population will decline over the next decade by 5.6 percent to 44.1 million.

The data reflect "the intensity of the aging process" among the population, accelerated by a declining birth rate and the growth of emigration, the INE said.

The drop in births will result from the country having fewer women of child-bearing age, itself a legacy of the baby bust of the late 1980s and early '90s.

As for life expectancy, in 2022 it will stand at 81.8 years for men and 87 for women, compared with the current 79.3 years and 85.1 years, respectively.

The INE estimates that Spain will end 2013 with 242,437 fewer inhabitants, in line with the negative trend that started the year before.

According to forecasts, the number of births will keep declining in the coming years, continuing the trend that began in 2009.

With regard to deaths, they will increase in number despite the loss of population and greater life expectancy, due to the aging of the population.

In 2017, Spain will have more deaths than births, which means its balance of living humans will be negative for the first time, the INE said.

This year 291,909 immigrants will arrive in Spain, 7.1 percent less than in 2012, and for every person that comes here, two will leave.

The result is that in 2013, Spain will again have a negative migration balance with other countries for the fourth straight year, since 299,607 more people will leave the country than enter it. EFE