Foreign immigration and suburbanisation in the Spanish main urban areas (1999-2009)

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

In the past ten years, one of the main changes experienced by the largest Spanish urban areas has been a rapid increase in the number of foreigners. At the beginning of 1999, 748,953 foreign citizens lived in Spain, but by the end of 2008 they had increased to 5,598,691. In other words, foreigners went from representing 1.9% of the total population to being a 12%. As a consequence, at a moment when all previous demographic projections expected figures to be stable or even to diminish, the total number of people living in Spain increased from 40.2 million to 46.6 million. Big urban areas have been one of the immigrants’ preferred destinations, breaking cities’ former stagnation dynamics, and making them recover demographic growth. Urban centres, which were losing population due to suburbanisation, are now growing again, even though metropolitan residential dynamics continue to exist and are even intensifying. However, these have different characteristics according to nationality. There are also differences between urban centres: while percentages of foreign residents for the two main cities are highly above the average (17.5% in Madrid and 18.1% in Barcelona) and they are also important for Valencia (14%), as they receive considerable numbers of foreigners, in contrast they only reach 4.3% in Seville. This paper focuses on these four metropolitan areas, with a total population of 13 million people which represent 30% of the Spanish population (2005 data). By using municipality-level data grouped by distance to the city centre, we analyse the three main metropolitan dynamics directly affected by the arrival of foreigners, that is to say: a) population growth and distribution in the municipalities of the main Spanish metropolitan areas; b) its impact on residential mobility, and finally, c) changes on the age and sex population distribution.

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Presented in Poster Session 2

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