What is the importance of people who were born abroad in rural Spain? You may have ever asked yourself this question, especially if you live in regions such as Castilla y León, Aragón or Extremadura, which are naturally “depopulated”, suffering an unrestrained demographic decline and thus aging. In this places, Romanians, Bulgarians and Moroccans (in this order, as detailed to ABC by the professor and researcher of the UNED, Luis Camarero) revive the «care economy, agricultural factories and construction».
The numerical importance of these «new residents» in a Spain that «suffers from a pressing emptying» is concentrated in one fact, the Camarero himself synthesizes: 10% of the Spanish rural population at the moment has been born abroad. It is one of the main conclusions of the article “Immigration makes rural Spain more dynamic”, which researchers from the UNED and the University of Valladolid have prepared and which the La Caixa Social Observatory presented today at CaixaForum Madrid.
In a monographic debate moderated by the journalist and director of Global Analysis and Development of ISGlobal, Rafael Vilasanjuan, and in which the professor Camarero and the professor of the University of Alcalá have also participated, Olga Cantó, the data of the article have been glossed, which underlines that the population of foreign origin is “also essential for the preservation of activity in depopulated Spain.”
Higher fertility rate
In the study, whose authorship belongs to Luis Camarero and Rosario Sampedro, its leaders point out that, in the group between 20 and 39 years old, the figure scales above 15%, to almost 16%, so that immigrants are undoubtedly rejuvenating rural Spain. It is necessary to agree, specifically to this medium, the researcher, that in addition tend to have a higher fertility rate than native Spanish And this, together with the family reunification, which is the ultimate goal sought, means that it is not necessary “only to measure the arrival of an immigrant to a tiny municipality, for example, but the disembarkation in that place of an entire family unit.” That is the future for these regions.
On average, the report highlights that one in five new rural inhabitants is of foreign origin, a proportion that increases in municipalities that do not exceed a thousand inhabitants, where a quarter of minors are already of foreign origin. Very interesting is the radiography carried out by the authors on the evolution of rural inhabitants, according to which the settlement of the foreign population in the Iberian Peninsula has followed a process of continuous diffusion from east to west, from the rural enclaves of the coastal regions Mediterranean, where it began to have a presence at the beginning of the XXI century, towards other areas of the interior, and has been opening up to new labor markets. «The geographical and cultural origin of the new settlers is also varied. In fact, against the rural imaginary of an immobile, permanent and local population, rural Spain is diverse and cosmopolitan»The authors resolve.
The pandemic and the crisis are primed with the rural
In the presentation of the La Caixa Social Observatory, Camarero explained: «As a general rule, economic crises have not been good for rural areas. The current context of strong economic uncertainty may slow down the arrival of the population from abroad and also make family reunification processes more difficult. The drop in fertility typical of times of crisis is added to this scenario of a foreseeable reduction in demographic vitality. But the days of the pandemic have also allowed us to become aware of the important contribution that the foreign population makes to guarantee food production (to the urban environment as well) and especially the life of our peoples.
In addition, in the same debate the «Analysis of the social needs of the immigrant population »from the La Caixa Social Observatory, in which he has realized the effects of the economic “gap” that caused the crisis of 2007-2008 among immigrant families in Spain and that “has not yet been closed”: 16% of these families had all their members were unemployed in the central years of the recession (compared to 9.5% in the case of native families). A report prepared by professors from the Rey Juan Carlos University, the UNED and the University of Alcalá on the social needs of these families indicates that the risk of poverty rate of immigrants residing in Spain is 46%, higher than the European average, as opposed to 18% among the autochthonous population.