WOMEN in Spain are putting off having children or deciding not to do so at all because of the precarious state of the job market, says the national institute of statistics.
Given that they have to be working before they can register for maternity pay, would-be mums out of work realise they would not have the money to support a child.
And they would not be able to afford to support a child if they were made redundant, or on the low wages earned by the few who work.
For the third consecutive year, the birth-rate in Spain has fallen and is now exceeded by the death-rate, meaning the population is set to decline.
Most women interviewed said they would like to have children, but did not see how they could afford to do so.
Many avoided taking maternity leave altogether, or opted not to become pregnant, because they feared their job contracts would not be renewed or that their bosses would find some other excuse to fire them.
The average age of a first-time mother is 31.4 years, compared to seven years ago when it was 29 years.