Galicia manages its ageing population

Galicia: the second oldest area in Spain

Image of the older generation in Ourense, Galicia. Credit: Shootdiem/

Is it possible for a region to rejuvenate its ageing demographic? 

Spain is, after Japan, the second oldest country in the world, and according to data from the INE in 2023, Galicia stands as Spain’s second oldest region, trailing only behind Asturias.

This situation casts a shadow on the future, requiring adjustments in healthcare and social services to cater to a diminishing and increasingly elderly population.

Manuel Fraga’s mid-nineties quip, ‘I can’t put a man and a woman in bed and tell them what to do. If I had to, I would do it, but it can’t be done,’ echoes a longstanding challenge.

With 218 individuals over the age of 64 for every 100 under 16, Galicia’s ageing dilemma is acute, especially as it recorded 6,745 births against 16,634 deaths in 2023.

Legislative efforts and economic incentives

Over the past two decades, Galician political parties have endeavoured to counteract ageing and declining birth rates through various proposals and laws.

The Demographic Boost Law, sanctioned by Feijoo in 2020, presented significant financial incentives to lessen the financial burden of child-rearing. Critics, however, dismissed the law as mere propaganda, arguing that stable employment, adequate wages, and job security are crucial for family planning.

Despite these efforts, a unified long-term strategy remains elusive, exacerbated by Galicia’s slower pace in attracting immigrants to aid in generational renewal, with Portuguese and Venezuelans leading in contributions to the local population.

Party proposals for demographic revitalisation

The PP pledges full implementation of its Demographic Promotion Law, introducing the Galician Children’s Law, offering free childcare for ages 0 to 3, and promoting work-life balance up to age 12.

The PSOE focuses on aiding generational renewal in the agricultural sector, whilst the BNG emphasises elderly care with proposals for smaller, more personalised nursing homes and enhanced home assistance services.

Sumar highlights the demographic crisis in both rural and urban areas, proposing a new public care system that includes day centres and micro-residences for the elderly.

Podemos, without specific anti-ageing strategies, advocates for comprehensive child and adolescent welfare through free education and public management of child-related services.

Unified approach needed

The varied approaches underscore a collective recognition of the demographic challenge, yet emphasise the need for a coordinated, long-term strategy.

As Galicia grapples with its ageing population, the effectiveness of these proposals will hinge on their implementation and the ability to address underlying issues such as employment stability and immigration.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.