Strategic solutions to combat demographic crisis in Spain

Date: 16/04/2019     Time: 9:59 AM

Spain faces a worrying population challenge as the least densely populated country in southern Europe with a population of 46. 7 million and looking for strategic solutions to combat that threat. According to the Spanish Institution of Statics, Five percent of the population in Spain lives in only 53 percent of the country' space. Ninety percent of Spain's population, more than 42 million people live in 30 percent of the country' space, posing a strategic threat to public services and regional cohesion, the statics added. More than 42 million people are concentrated in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and the coastal areas, living in 1,500 of the more than 8100 municipalities in Spain. One of the main reasons for this problem is the migration to large cities that are no longer confined to remote villages and rural areas but have spread over the last ten years to the small cities that suffered from the economic crisis in 2008 and forced many to migrate. The capital, Madrid and large cities such as Barcelona and other coastal cities were the main attractions during that period, especially for individuals aged between 25 and 40 years, Spain became like a desert with some spread oases. One of the other reasons is the departure of migrants and foreigners, who usually record higher birth rates to major cities or outside Spain and the caused a decline in investment, trade, cultural life and jobs, which has spread to some of the most important Spanish cities. The financial crisis in 2008 had a twin effect in deepening the problem, causing a decrease in birth rates due to unemployment and low wages that prompted individuals to delay the decision to have children. However, the number of births continues to decline for the tenth year in a row while the number of deaths in a marked rise. Spain's population has grown about 36 percent since 1975 from 43.2 million to 46.7 million in 2018, including 4.7 million foreigners living in the country. The Spanish government launched last month a national strategic plan that includes a package of 70 measures aimed at addressing rural migration. The most prominent of these measures is the strengthening of military bases in rural areas as a means of restoring activity in those areas left by young people, especially women, as the Ministry of Defense has more than 200 military bases in 50 rural areas. This will create jobs opportunities and establish Internet and telecommunications networks and other services such as health centers in these areas. The government has also set up an investment plan and credit lines with support for entrepreneurship and youth employment in the disadvantaged Municipalities to address the demographic challenge. The plan also provides for housing rehabilitation projects in rural areas and the creation of a common platform for rural tourism to encourage the private sector to invest. Experts believe that foreign immigrants are one of the most important solutions to address the demographic challenge and to promote reproductive rates, but the Spanish government stresses that the economic and political conditions do not encourage this step. Among other things, European groups from other countries see rural areas as an opportunity to create a new life in Spain, which is a positive step for the Spanish government. Spain hopes that these measures will help start the treatment of the demographic crisis and restore life to a large number of cities that have lost their luster in recent years.