Europeans in Spain: are their international and internal migration patterns affected by economic downturn?

Jordi Bayona-i-Carrasco, Universitat de Barcelona
Fernando Gil-Alonso, Universitat de Barcelona

In the last 15 years, Spain has received more than 5 million foreign immigrants, becoming one of the European countries with the largest foreign population. With more than 2.6 million non-Spaniard Europeans now (2010) living in Spain, they have come to represent the country’s main foreign continental origin, therefore allowing for an in-depth demographic research through Padrón continuo (Spain’s centralized local register) and the Estadística de Variaciones Residenciales (residential mobility statistics) data. The paper firstly analyses Europeans’ stock and flow changes in Spain in the last decade. Then, it focuses on their internal mobility spatial patterns (between the 50 Spanish provinces and within each of them) both during economic boom years –until 2007, when all kinds of flows reach their maximum– and the current recession. Research intends to answer questions such as: once they settle in Spain, are they more mobile than Spanish nationals or other foreign immigrants? When they move to other provinces, which spatial patterns do they follow? Are there differences between the main European nationalities? And finally, have their international and internal migration flows been affected by the present severe economic crisis? If so, which formerly receiving provinces have become sending ones and vice versa? Specific research is carried out on the main European nationalities present as well as on several groups of nationalities. Preliminary results show that they are demographically very diverse although they show similar characteristics by geographical origin –e.g. former EU-15 citizens have a much older age-structure than immigrants from the 12-New Member States or non-EU European countries. Regarding internal mobility flows, former EU-15 citizens show the lowest intensity, though recession has particularly affected Europeans from non-EU-15 countries. The latter, who are much more mobile, have seen their internal migration rates significantly reduced and their spatial patterns deeply modified.

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Presented in Poster Session 1

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