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Figures expose birth rate decline

Significant consequences says author

Startling statistics have shown a decline of more than 25% in the Island's birth rate since 2010.

New government economic data shows just 758 babies were born in 2016 - a drop of 3.4% on the previous year, and the lowest figure since 1987.

Author of the Manx Population Atlas Paul Craine, who's been analysing the results, claims such a slowdown will have serious consequences for the local economy.

He says a fall in demand for nursery places, education, retail and, eventually, jobs, will affect future spending and investment.

Growing the working population over the next five years is a key target for government.

The Chamber of Commerce has also estimated that 15,000 new workers are needed to expand the economy over the next two decades.

The Island's population is currently pegged at 83,900 - a slight fall on the number published in the last census (84,497).

Mr Craine says the latest figures suggest wider demographic concerns.

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