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Population decline continues apace

In January-February 2019, there were 5.1% fewer births and 10.5% more deaths than in the first two months of 2018, show preliminary data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH). As a result, the natural decrease of the population rose by nearly 36% year-on-year.

In February 2019, a total of 6,524 children were born, 4.7% fewer than in February 2018, while 12,219 Hungarians passed away, 1.8% more than in the same month of the previous year. The natural decrease was thus 5,695 in February, 10% higher than a year earlier.

The figures represent an improvement on January, when 5.5% fewer children were born than in January 2018, while the number of deaths rose sharply, by 18.7%. The natural decrease in January was 68.1% higher year-on-year, which the KSH attributed at the time to an earlier than usual peak of the flu season.

The number of marriages in February remained practically unchanged, as 1,872 couples got married, just 0.4% fewer than in February 2018. A total of 3,319 marriages were registered in the first two months of the year, 2.1% fewer than in January-February 2018.

In January–February 2019, the estimated total fertility rate was 1.43 child per woman, compared with 1.49 calculated for the first two months of the previous year.

There were 8.8 live births and 16.5 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants over the two-month period.

The decline in the population persists for the time being despite a package of measures announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to support families 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 the first quarter of 2019 will be published by the KSH on May 28.