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Spaniards have highest life expectancy in Europe

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Spaniards have highest life expectancy in Europe
Photo of happy old couple: Shutterstock
12:31 CEST+02:00
A new study has revealed that Spaniards live the longest in Europe, to an average of 83 years old, while Spanish mothers are the oldest on the continent, delaying having their first child until they reach 30.

The benefits of a healthy Mediterranean diet, rich in fresh fish and vegetables and olive oil, have long been known.

Spanish people can expect to live longer than their European counterparts, according to a new Eurostat study, with an average life expectancy of 82.5 years.

But while Spaniards might be living longer, they are also waiting longer to have children, the study reveals.

Spanish mothers, like those in the UK, give birth to their first child at the average age of 30 years old, while first-time mothers in all the other EU member states have an average age somewhere between 25 and 29.

Spain has one of the lowest fertility rates in the EU, along with Portugal and Poland, at 1.32 births per woman and a Spanish region - Asturias - is the European region with the least children (only 23.6 percent), according to the study.

Spain has the lowest fertility rate for women under 30, with 0.60 births or fewer.

Perhaps Spanish women are delaying having children because they leave home so much later than those in other EU countries; the average age at which young Spaniards leave home is the highest in Europe, with 27.9 years old for women and 29.8 for men. 

Another reason for Spain's increasing lack of young people is the brain drain the country has suffered since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008. 

Thousands of young Spaniards have travelled abroad in search of work, fleeing Spain's crippingly high youth unemployment rate of 50.7 percent. 

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