The birth rate in Spain has fallen to 2003 levels (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). This is one of the findings in the survey on the 'natural movement of the population' for 2010 released yesterday by the Spanish Statistics Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística). The research also found that life expectancy in Spain has risen once again, to an average of 82 years, although when separated along gender lines, it is higher for women (84.9) than for men (78.9). In 2010, the number of births in Spain was 484,055, a fall of almost two percent compared to 2009. The average birth rate (per 1,000 inhabitants) was 10.51, the lowest level in the past seven years. This means that 2010 becomes the second year in a row in which the birth rate fell following 10 years of continued growth before 2009.
Barcelona is on course for a record year in terms of hotel-room occupation (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). With tourism now representing 14 percent of the city's gross domestic product, forecasts for this year's results are particularly positive, and the professional association of hoteliers (Gremi d'Hotelers) believes that the number of occupied hotel-room nights could reach 15 million. This is an upward trend that started last summer and has already been seen to continue in the first half of this year, which ended with a rise of eight percent in terms of hotel occupancy compared to 2010. Despite this, the president of the gremi, Jordi Clos, yesterday raised the issue about what would happen if the tourism bubble were to burst one day, as has happened with industry and construction. In the face of the problems facing these sectors, tourism has been a salvation for Barcelona, and it's an area where 30,000 people work directly (more than half of who are women) and 100,000 indirectly.
The new mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, said yesterday that he wants the Catalan police (Mossos d'Esquadra) and the local police (Guardia Urbana) to get involved in the fight against pickpockets on Barcelona's metro system by patroling the metro (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Trias wants the police forces to help guarantee a safe underground system, where security is currently largely in the hands of private security companies. The announcement coincided with a report in yesterday's El Periodico newspaper about the growing number of robberies on the metro here. During his press conference, Trias said that it would be one of the topics that he will be put on the table during the first meeting of the council executive on local security, which he'll preside, and that he hopes the Generalitat interior minister (with responsibility for the Mossos), Felip Puig, will also attend this meeting. Trias added that he hopes that one day, it will be possible to forget that the Barcelona metro had once not had the guarantee of security that it should have.