LISBON (Alliance News) - A decline in the number of births, compounded by an increase in deaths and emigration, are reducing the population of crisis-hit Portugal, statistics body INE said Tuesday.
The population fell by about 55,000 people in 2012 to 10.49 million - the third yearly drop in a row.
The number of births dropped by 7.2% to a level below 90,000 for the first time since comparable statistics have been issued.
The number of deaths went up by 4.6% from 2011, with child mortality also posting a slight increase.
INE did not directly link the statistics to Portugal's economic crisis.
But it did observe an increase in emigration, as growing numbers of leave Portugal to look for work in former Portuguese colonies or other European countries.
Nearly 52,000 people emigrated permanently and about 69,500 left with the intention of staying abroad for less than a year in 2012. During the same period, Portugal only received about 14,600 new immigrants.
Portugal's financial crisis began in 2007 as part of the global crisis and has dragged on until today, bringing unemployment levels up to about 16%.
The EU and the International Monetary Fund granted Lisbon a bailout worth 78 billion euros (107 billion dollars) in 2011.
The government now expects Portugal to rise out of recession next year, with a growth rate of 0.8%.
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