STAFF REPORTER

MADRID/PALMA
THE Balearics is forecast to experience the third biggest regional population boom in Spain over the next ten years, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE) yesterday.

The INE population forecast claimed that an increase of 7.82 percent (83'637 more residents) will push the current figure of 1.07 million up to a total population of 1.15 million by 2019. Higher increases, said the INE, will only be registered in Murcia (9.18%) and Castilla La Mancha (11.37%).

BIRTHS

The report clearly shows that between 2002 and 2009, numbers of people living in the Balearics have grown by 22.6 percent from 872'836 to 1.07 million. It forecasts that over the next 10 years, demographic movement in the central southern and eastern areas of the Peninsula, and island territories will be the most intense in the country.

By way of contrast, population levels in other regions of the country look set to decline. These include Asturias, the Basque Country and Galicia with downturns of more than 3 percent.

Separately, the INE claims that over the next decade, the number of deaths will exceed the number of births in 8 regions of the country and that the population of Spain as a whole will grow by 1.1 million.

This growth contrasts starkly with the increase of 5 million registered in in the previous decade. The average population growth rate during the period 2002 to 2008 period of 695'000 inhabitants a year looks set to decline significantly over the next decade to the point where the annual increase is forecast to be no more than 113'000.

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