The number of families without children increases and the numerous

A difficult economic situation, wages that are not enough, entry to the labor market later. These are some reasons that have made couples in Spain postpone the decision to have a son, two or more. In this situation it is very difficult to maintain a family with one or more offspring, something that is causing the population of this country to suffer.

But it is not only the Spanish population that is noticing the effects of this situation. The kind of family Typical in this country is also changing and in recent decades has undergone remarkable changes that have made even more couples without children and households with more than five members reduce.


Reduction of large families

If we look at the year 1991 the number of couples who had at least three children was 1,139,432, a figure that went to 782,743 in 2001 and to 531,105 according to the latest census data. Also households with more than three offspring have been reduced, if 25 years ago there were 570,648 units of this type, at present these are counted in 100,081.

On the contrary, the units relatives without children or with a single offspring they have increased the most in the last decades. If in 1991 the number of couples without offspring was 2,502,137, these amounted to 3,042,409 in 2001 and 4,413,304 in this second decade of the 21st century. Which means that this type of home has experienced an increase of almost two million, which have grown the most in all this time becoming the most common family in Spain.


In second place are the families with only one child, which currently number 3,358,830, while in 1991 they were 2,277,417. Third the couples with two children that makes 25 years they were counted in 2,679,982 and currently occupy 3,070,214 of the homes in Spain.

Single-parent families also grow

Another type of family that has also experienced high growth in these decades are single-parent families. Currently households composed of a mother and a only son they are the fourth type of unit that is most repeated in Spain with 1,206,011 cases, a quite visible increase when compared with data from 1991, year in which this type of nucleus was 564,590.

The number of households composed of a mother and two children have also grown in recent decades. Whereas in 1991 there were only 243.082 of this type of nucleus, at present this figure has increased to reach 461,379. The family units of a father and a single child have also increased in the last 25 years.


In 1991, families composed of only father and his son there were 117,449 and at present this number has increased to reach 319,754. Also the households formed by a man and two children have grown in all this time reached the figure of 121,120, a quite high number if one takes into account that this unit at the beginning of the 90 were computed in 50,045.

Aged population

The growth of families without children and nuclei that do not ensure generational change, less than two children per couple, is causing the aging of the population in Spain. A study carried out by the BBVA Foundation warns that since 2012 the society of this country has changed and each time it is less common to see young people in the demography of this country.

Specifically since 2012 Spain has lost a total of 1.6 million people under 24 years of age. This in turn has caused the population to lose members. Thus, if at the beginning of the last century the average age of an adult in this country was 28 years, it is currently 41 years. At this point El Institute of Family Policy figure in 263,000 births per year as necessary for this problem to be resolved in this country. A practice that would avoid forecasts such as those of the National Institute of Statistics that foresees that by the year 2050, more than 30% of the Spanish demography will be integrated into the third age.

Damián Montero

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