Posted on October 18, 2011

Spain Sees Exodus as Crisis Deepens

Victor Mallet, Financial Times, October 17, 2011

Europe’s deepening economic and financial crisis has thrown Spanish population growth into reverse, with hundreds of thousands of Latin American migrants leaving the country because they are unable to find work.

After a decade of high immigration and rapid population growth, Spain’s population is now declining and fell by nearly 28,000 in the first half of this year to 46.12m, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).

“If current demographic trends are maintained, Spain would lose more than half a million inhabitants in the next 10 years, after a period of intense population growth,” INE said in a report on its projections published this month.

The reversal is remarkable because Spain and its fast-growing economy had been the most popular destination in the European Union for new immigrants, legal and illegal. {snip}


Spanish commentators say the departure of unskilled migrants is to be expected in an economy with 21 per cent unemployment and will help to relieve pressure on the jobs market, even if the exodus is made up mainly of Ecuadoreans, Argentinians and other South Americans with prospects at home rather than jobless migrants from the Maghreb or sub-Saharan Africa who prefer to stay in Spain.