Analysis of Spanish and Foreign Population Structure by Age and Immigration Trends

Structure of Spanish and Foreign Population by Age

The Spanish population pyramid exhibits a contractionary structure, characterized by a low birth rate and a longer life expectancy, particularly among women. This pattern is typical of most economically developed countries. Let’s break down the pyramid into its age groups:

Children (0-15 years)

There are slightly more boys than girls in this age group (105 boys per 100 girls). The base of the pyramid is narrow due to the declining birth rate since 1975. This decrease is progressive, resulting in a smaller number of children born each year and a narrower pyramid base. The low number of young people is concerning as they represent the future of the population.

Youth (15-29 years)

The population in this age group is increasing due to immigration. Many immigrants are of working age and contribute to the labor force. They are attracted to Spain’s economy, climate, and political stability.

Adults (30-65 years)

The pyramid’s widest point is observed in the 30-34 age group, representing the baby boomer generation born during the economic expansion of 1960-1975. The population in this stage is high but declines considerably towards the last phase.

Older Adults (65+ years)

The upper echelons of the pyramid represent the oldest age groups. A significant reduction is observed in those born between 1936-1940, corresponding to the low birth rates resulting from the Spanish Civil War. Consequently, the number of women in this age group is higher than that of men. The pyramid extends to over 85 years, with very few men reaching this age. This stage is characterized by very low birth and death rates, resulting in near-zero or even negative vegetative growth. Advancements in medicine have contributed to increased life expectancy, reaching around 80 years.

Immigration Trends in Spain

From 1996 to 2006, Spain experienced a significant increase in immigration. This influx has helped maintain positive population growth, particularly among the younger generation. Immigrants have a fertility rate 20% higher than the native population, playing a crucial role in increasing the birth rate and rejuvenating the population.

Reasons for Immigration

  • Retirees from Northern Europe seeking a mild climate and a less urban environment, particularly along the Mediterranean coast.
  • High-wage workers, professionals, and artists from other European Union countries seeking better quality of life and business opportunities.
  • Individuals from Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe seeking employment and better living conditions.

Spatial Distribution of Immigrants in Spain

The map of provincial migrant distribution in Spain in 2006 reveals a concentration of immigrants in coastal regions such as Girona, Castellon, Alicante, Murcia, Almeria, Malaga, and the Balearic Islands, as well as in Madrid. This uneven distribution is attributed to the economic development that has primarily occurred along the coastline over the past 200 years.

Factors Influencing Immigrant Distribution

  • Economic opportunities in tourism, services, trade, construction, and transportation.
  • Favorable climatic conditions supporting intensive agriculture.
  • Attractiveness of coastal areas for affluent retirees seeking leisure and a pleasant environment.

In conclusion, Spain’s population structure is undergoing significant changes due to declining birth rates, increasing life expectancy, and immigration. Understanding these trends is crucial for addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with an aging population and a diversifying society.