Galician senator and demographics expert, Edelmira Barreria Diz, has been appointed government commissioner with special responsibility for challenging the nation’s sliding birth rate.
Last year Spain recorded more deaths than births for the first time since World War II prompting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to take action.
Barreria Diz has a serious task on her hands considering the scale of the decline. Between 1977 and 2015, the number of childless couples tripled from 1.5 to 4.4 million, according to the latest report by Spanish social and economic think tank, Funcas.
Spain’s birthrate fell by a staggering 18 percent since 2008, leaving the country with one of the lowest birth rates in the European Union, hovering just above Greece, Cyprus and Portugal with 1.32 babies born per woman in 2014, according to figures from Eurostat.
Comparatively Ireland and France have the highest rate with 2.01 each, the UK and Sweden follow closely in second and third with 1.92 and 1.91 births per woman.
Perhaps coincidentally, data from Eurostat found that the proportion of 18-29 year olds experiencing serious deprivation rose sharpest within those countries over the period 2007-2011, with the greatest increase being in Spain, rising by 20 percentage points.
Spanish women also leave it latest among Europeans to start having children, only beginning motherhood, on average, when they are 32 years old, according to the Institute for Family Policy. The institute also believe that the negative effects of the economic crisis are key to why women leave it late to have a family.
The government also echoed these sentiments, with the education ministry saying that the crisis in birth rates “aggravates other economic imbalances and generates important impacts in the Welfare State.”
This is not the first time governments have gone to extreme lengths to promote baby making. In 2014 the Danish government ran a series of advertisements encouraging couples to procreate. The “Do It For Denmark” campaign had seemingly positive effects on the birth rate in the small Scandinavian nation.