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The number of births in January-February declined by two percent compared with the same period a year before, while the number of deaths jumped by 21 percent, the highest two-month death rate since 1999, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Wednesday. The number of deaths has been climbing since September 2016, the KSH noted, adding that the spike at the start of 2017 was probably partly due to the flu epidemic. In the first two months, there were 14,582 live births, 321 fewer than in the same period of 2016. The decline is partly explained by the fact that 2016 was a leap year; this year’s equivalent period was one day shorter. Adjusting for this discrepancy, the decline in the birth rate was an annual 0.5 percent.
In January and February altogether 26,970 people died, 4,658 more than in the same period the previous year. Ironing out the leap-year effect, the rise in the number of deaths was equal to a 23 percent increase. The number of marriages also declined in January and February, falling by an annual 9.9 percent when adjusted for the leap-year effect and by 12 percent otherwise. There were 3,227 marriages in the period, 431 fewer than in Jan-Feb, 2016. Source: MTI/KSH