Staff Reporter

PALMA
THE Balearics had one of the highest percentages of children born to foreign mothers in Spain in 2005 -- 24.08 per cent of the total, according to figures released by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

It was beaten only by Gerona (27.97 per cent) and Lerida (25.22 per cent).
In absolute terms, the number of births in the Balearics in 2005 was 10'925, and 2'631 of the babies had a non-Spanish mother.
The INE report also revealed that 5'719 of the babies born were boys and 5'206 were girls. As to the civil status of the mother, 7'115 were married and 3'810 were single.

Another of the statistics included in the report referred to marriages. The total number was 4'309, with 4'267 of the marriages between a man and a woman, 33 were between two men and nine between two women.

The church is no longer the favourite place for a wedding -- 2'304 were civil marriages compared to 1'943 in a Catholic church and ten in ceremonies of other religions.

The Balearics is one of the few regions where civil marriages outnumber those in the church. In this, it keeps company with Barcelona, Gerona, Tarragona and Las Palmas. The report also says that the Balearics is the region with the highest percentage of marriages in which one of the partners is a foreigner.

In more than 28 per cent of the marriages (1'124 out of 4'267) one of the partners was a foreigner.
In big cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, the number of marriages in which one partner is foreign is reduced to 17.93, 18.84 and 15.73 per cent respectively.

The INE report also said that the number of deaths in the Balearics in 2005 was 7'361, of whom 365 were foreigners.
The birth rate is going up in the Balearics, the report said, as the 10'925 births in 2005 was the highest figure since 1976, when there were 11'169 births.

But despite this, the survey said that the women of the Balearics have an average of 1.334 children, slightly lower than the national average of 1.342.

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