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Big swing towards deaths signals further population decline

Preliminary data for January 2019 show that 5.5% fewer children were born than in the same month of 2018, while the number of deaths rose sharply, by 18.7%. As a result, in the first month of this year, the natural decrease of the population was 6,426, some 2,603 more than in January 2018.

In January 2019, a total of 7,364 children were born, 427 fewer than in the first month of 2018, show data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH). The estimated total fertility rate was 1.44 live births per woman in January, compared with the value of 1.50 calculated for January of the previous year, and the annual fertility rate of 1.54 registered in 2017, already below the EU average at the time.

Some 13,790 Hungarians passed away this January, some 2,176 more than in the first month of 2018. The fact that this year the peak of the flu epidemic was earlier than last year may explain the marked mortality surplus, noted the KSH.

As a result of these joint trends, the natural decrease amounted to 6,426 in January, as opposed to 3,823 in January 2018, signifying an increase of 68.1%.

Meanwhile, the 1,436 marriages registered in January was 76 (5.0%) fewer than the figure in January 2018.

There were 8.9 live births and 16.6 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants in January. The number of infant deaths was 3.5 per 1,000 live births.

In a bid to reverse Hungaryʼs population decline of many decades, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán unveiled a package of measures to support families with children at his annual state of the nation address in February, including tax breaks and cheap loans for mothers committed to having children.

Data for births, deaths and marriages in January–February 2019 will be published by the KSH on April 26.