The Spanish government has created a new post in an attempt to boost pregnancy rates and halt the country’s declining population.
The role of the so-called “sex czar” is to be taken up by Edelmira Barreria Diz, a demographics expert and senator in the Galician parliament.
According to official statistics, Spain recorded a lower number of births than deaths last year, the first time this has happened since 1941.
Ms Barreria Diz, who has been appointed as head of the commission for demographics by Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has been asked to help reverse a trend which appears to have taken root in the southern European country: the birth rate in Spain has shrunk by 18% since 2008.
The Eurozone crisis is almost certainly to blame for much of the problem – Spain’s unemployment rate was as high as 22.7% in 2015, though it has been lower since. The knock-on effect of younger people migrating to find work elsewhere in Europe and those who have stayed not wanting to start a family because of the expense has helped to create the present situation.
The number of childless couples in Spain is believed to have tripled from 1.5 million to 4.4 million between 1977 and 2015. In 2014, Spain’s fertility rate of 1.32 children per woman was among the lowest in Europe.