Young Spaniards’ rural exodus: “I don’t have the option of going back I would be unemployed”

Young Spaniards' rural exodus :" I don't have the option of going back, I would be unemployed"

Young Spaniards are having to migrate from their rural home towns to find work, as Spain sees an increase in rural exodus.

Young Spaniards are finding themselves forced to leave their rural hometowns to find work, in a mass rural exodus that is affecting the whole of Spain, as reported by El Diario.

The Bank of Spain pointed out in its 2020 annual report that a total of 3,403 localities, 42% of Spanish municipalities, are at risk of depopulation, well above the Eurozone as a whole. The study details that these areas present “idiosyncrasies in socio-economic and topographic aspects, as well as worse accessibility to services than urban municipalities and the rest of rural municipalities”.

Many of the people who leave their towns and provinces, for studies or work, end up in the Community of Madrid, which gains inhabitants while the rest lose them. In 2020, Madrid accounted for 75% of foreign investment in Spain and a large part of the business fabric is concentrated in this region, which is also home to many universities offering all kinds of degrees and studies. Many young people have to leave their homes to be able to study what they like and are interested in.

28-year-old Paula, originally from Soria, Spain was forced to move to Madrid: “I don’t have a job there, but I couldn’t get one either because in my field of research, Hispanic philology, there are no opportunities, and neither are there any opportunities in similar branches,” she explained.  “I don’t even have the option of going back, the only way for me to go back would be to become unemployed. Madrid concentrates all the workload and it is where you have the most opportunities”.

However, older generations say that this is nothing new for Spain. 90-year-old Teresa moved from her rural home town in Badajoz, Spain, to Madrid in the 1950s with her husband:  “There was no work there. My husband did his military service here and we knew many people from the town who had come here and they encouraged us to do the same. We lived in a rented room in Fuencarral, but we never thought about going back.”


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Written by

Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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