STA, 23 June 2020 - A total of 19,328 children were born in Slovenia in 2019, 1.3% fewer then the year before, but the birth rate remained at 1.61. The number of deaths, at 20,588, exceeded the number of births for the third year running, show data released on Tuesday by the Statistics Office.
This is the second year in a row that fewer than 20,000 children were born in Slovenia after the figure had been exceeded for ten consecutive years prior to 2018.
At 9,977, the number of boys born fell short of 10,000 for the first time in 12 years. The number for girls, already below 10,000 in 2016, was 9,351.
One of the reasons for the declining number of births in recent years lies in an increasing number of women putting off the decision to have their first child. The average age increased again last year, to 29.6 from 29.5, while this compares to 23 three decades ago.
This also pushes up the average age of the mothers of newborns in general - it was 31.1 last year, while it stood at 25.9 in 1989.
Another reason is the decline in the birth rate seen in the 1980s and 1990s, which has led to a lower number of women aged between 25 and 34 at present.
Meanwhile, the parents of 57.7% of the 2019 newborns were not married. 16,175 children were born to parents who both had Slovenian citizenship and 1,339 to parents neither of whom had Slovenian citizenship.
Luka was the favourite name picked for boys for the 21st year running, being given to 2.8% of the newborns, while Zala made it back to the top among girls with 2.9%.
Meanwhile, the number of the deaths increased by 0.5% compared to 2018. The average age of the deceased exceeded 78 for the first time last year, reaching 78.1. It was 73.9 for men and 82.1 for women. In the last decade, the average for men increased by 3.8 years and for women by three years.
According to the Statistics Office, boys born last year can expect to live until they are 78.5, while the life expectancy for girls is 84.2. In the last ten years, the figures have increased by 9.1 and 7.1 years, respectively.
The share of so called premature deaths, meaning before the age of 65, was 16% last year - 22.4% among men and 9.8% among women. The gap between men and women in this category has been shrinking in the last decade. In 2009 the share for men was 30.8% and for women 12.4%.
The infant mortality rate last year was 2.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. The rate has been decreasing in Slovenia in the last decade and is among the lowest among EU member states.