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Birth rate higher in north than south

A STUDY of Slovak population patterns released yesterday by the Demographic Research Centre has found that the north of Slovakia, rather than the east as popularly believed, enjoys the highest birthrate in the country, while the south has the lowest.

The study, conducted over 10 years among Slovakia’s 79 districts, found that the most children per capita were born in Námestovo, Kežmarok, Stará Ľubovňa, Sabinov and Vranov nad Topľou, where there were an average of two children for every woman between the ages of 15 and 49.

These districts, which are also prevailingly Catholic, are marker by low divorce and abortion rates and a high marriage rate.

On the other hand, south Slovakia, with the exception of the cities of Bratislava and Košice, is struggling with a high mortality rate, as well as a high abortion rate and a high rate of children born out of wedlock. In the districts of Rimavská Sobota and Rožňava, for example, in the past five years almost one child in two has been born to unmarried parents or a single mother.

The authors of the study said these districts have high concentrations of Roma inhabitants, who have a different view of marriage and parenthood than the rest of the population.

In Slovakia’s two largest cities, Bratislava and Košice, the population is declining due to people’s moving to outlying towns and villages. The district of Senec, for example, 20 kilometers northeast of Bratislava, gained the most immigrants in the country from 2001 to 2005, with 16 per 1,000 inhabitants.

Interestingly, districts with the highest unemployment are still not those with the highest migration rates, and 5 of the top 13 jobless districts actually gained inhabitants from migration last year.

On the other hand, major foreign investments tends to attract migration, such as in Žilina (Kia/Hyundai), Malacký (the Lozonro industrial park), Košice-environs (the Kechnec industrial park), and Galanta (Samsung).

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