A diminishing birth rate in Greece during the 1970s and 80s was severely exacerbated when the country plunged into its eight-year economic crisis and adopted a bailout program, leading to a population decline, an epidemiology professor said on Monday.

In previous decades, the downward trend in the number of births was offset by the arrival of migrants in the country, said George Rachiotis, assistant professor in epidemiology and occupational hygiene at the University of Thessaloniki.

“But the economic crisis and the subsequent entry into a memorandum mechanism disrupted the balance,” he said.

Indicatively, in the 2015-17 period, deaths surpassed births by 91,207, while hundreds of thousands of young, highly educated and skilled Greeks fled abroad, Rachiotis said. In 2017, births dropped below 90,000.

The result of these demographic changes was that the Greek population decreased by 355,000 people between 2008 and 2017.

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