Wiesbaden (dpa) - Women in Germany gave birth to fewer babies in the past year than in 2018. The number of newborns was around 778,100, which was about 9,400 fewer children than in the previous year, as the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden announced.

Mathematically, 9.4 babies per 1000 inhabitants (2018: 9.5 babies). Germany was slightly above the EU average of 9.3 newborns

At the same time, the number of deaths dropped to 939,500 in 2019, which corresponds to a decrease of 1.6 percent. One reason for this is that the numbers were increased in 2018 due to a strong flu wave, said an expert from the Federal Office.

Overall, 161,400 more people died than babies in the past year. However, this development is not new: "The fact that there are more deaths than births in Germany is a long-term demographic trend that has been going on since 1972," says the Federal Statistical Office.

With 11.3 deaths per 1000 inhabitants, Germany was above the provisional EU average of 10.4. The greatest number of deaths was in Bulgaria (15.5), least in Ireland (estimated value: 6.3).

The number of marriages also fell last year. Around 416,300 couples came to the registry office, 7.4 percent fewer than in the previous year. In 2018, there were a lot of weddings as a result of the introduction of “Marriage for All”. In 2019 there were 402,300 marriages between men and women, plus around 14,000 marriages of same-sex couples.

The figures for 2020 will be interesting, as will the question of how the corona pandemic will affect births, deaths and weddings. According to a special evaluation a few weeks ago, the number of deaths in Germany in May was roughly on the level of previous years. In April, the number of deaths was about nine percent above the average of previous years.

Statisticians only have provisional figures for births and marriages until March this year. Thus, no general statements can be made. Asked at the registry office in Kassel: "We had a sharp drop in marriages," says the local manager, Frank Müsken. In the first half of the year, the numbers declined by 24 percent compared to the same period in the previous year.

And what about births? You have to wait until December or January, explained Müsken, who is also the chairman of the professional association of Hessian civil servants. "It has always happened that the number of births increases nine to ten months after certain events."

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200713-99-771788 / 2