Malta with biggest rise in births in EU - 7/2/2006

Malta with biggest rise in births in EU
Ivan Camilleri in Brussels

Malta last year registered the largest percentage rise in births in the EU, an increase of 8.7 per cent over the previous year.

According to recent data issued by the EU's statistical arm, Eurostat, this rise, combined with a significant increase in the number of immigrants, pushed the Maltese population up to 405,800 by the beginning of this year - an increase of 3.1 per cent on the previous year.

Indeed, most of the increase is attributed to about 2,000 new migrants living in Malta, as the population increase resulting from new births less deaths was only of 1,100 people.

According to the Eurostat figures, about 4,000 new births were registered while 2,900 people passed away. In terms of the increase in migration, Malta stands in fifth position when compared to all the 25 EU member states, with an increase of five per cent in the crude net migration rate over the last 12 months.

Italy, Spain, Ireland and Cyprus registered higher migration intakes than Malta.

Twelve EU member states have seen a fall in the number of births with Sweden facing the largest decrease, of 7.4 per cent.

Eurostat said that based upon monthly data available at the end of last year, latest forecasts show that the net inflow of international migrants to the European Union is expected to show a decrease.

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