Figures just released by the Institut dEstadstica de Catalunya (IDESCAT) show that during 2004 the number of births recorded in Catalonia increased by 5 percent in comparison to the previous year. This is the biggest increase for around 25 years. Immigration is seen as one of the reasons for the rise in the birth rate; the number of babies born to non-Catalonian parents increased by 24 percent over the year. The local birth rate managed only a 1.1 per cent rise. However overall Spanish couples were responsible for 77 percent of all births. The statistics also reveal that more boys than girls were born in 2004.. Marc and lex

were the most popular boys names and Paula and Maria headed the list for girls names. Among foreign names Mohamed was at 45th position on the list of most-favoured names.