THAT natality rates in Spain have been dropping alarmingly over the last few years is no longer a secret.

Fears over who will pay the pensions of the increasingly ageing population are becoming a major headache for political, economic and social analysts, with new statistics constantly adding to the worries.

This week it has been revealed that 73 towns in the Valencia region did not register a single birth in 2019.

Castellon province was the worst hit by the lack of new arrivals with 34 municipalities failing to welcome any new children into the world, followed by Valencia with 20 and Alicante with 19.

Furthermore, one in every five towns – up to 116 – registered no more than one birth throughout the year.

A total of 37,324 babies were born in the Valencian Community in 2019 – nearly 10,000 less than in 2018, showing a sustained downwards trend over the last few years.

Up to 22 towns and villages throughout the region currently have no children aged under five years old.

Mainly affecting smaller, inland areas, dwindling numbers of young people to take over family trades and businesses usually signs the death warrant for rural areas, prompting several local councils to launch desperate schemes to attract young families, such as free housing and education. 

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