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Internal Migration and Regional Population Dynamics in Europe: Spain Case Study

By A.G. Coll and J. Stillwell


Internal migration has been a key component in Spain’s sub-national population dynamics over the last century, particularly during the 1960s and 1970s, when the rural exodus was at its peak. Since then, as fertility levels have declined and the economy has been restructured, internal migration has continued to play an important, albeit different, role in shaping the distribution of the population across the country. This report, which is one of a series of studies of population dynamics and internal migration in different European countries, considers some of the more recent changes in the distribution of the population and in internal migration during each of the two calendar years, 1988 and 1994, at two spatial scales, provinces and municipalities. \ud Whilst both the natural change and residual net migration components of population change are mapped at both geographical scales, the demographic dynamism of the ‘coastal’ provinces is evident when contrasted, in aggregate terms, with changes taking place in the ‘industrial’, ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ provinces. A Webb classification demonstrates the extent to which the number of municipalities with net migration gains increased between 1988 and 1994, and a size classification suggests a shift of population expansion down the urban hierarchy. \ud Registration data for the two annual periods are used to examine the changes in the volume, geographical distribution and demographic structure of internal migration. Whilst it is clear that the volume of migration between municipalities in the same province has increased between 1988 and 1994 more rapidly than the migration taking place between municipalities in different provinces, the efficiency with which the latter redistributes population has declined. Spatial patterns of aggregate inter-provincial net migration, net migration rates, migration efficiencies and major flows are outlined but no evidence is found of a relationship between net migration and unemployment or density at the municipality scale. \ud Age variations in migration propensities and net migration balances give some indications of the variety of determinants that influence directional migration flows at different stages in the life course. The report presents the profiles of national migration rate schedules in 1988 and 1994 and examines the spatial patterns of net migration for five-year age groups. Provinces are classified according to their migration efficiencies in the two annual periods and age-specific efficiencies are examined for selected provinces to demonstrate major changes in more detail. Migration of those of working age accounts for the large majority of inter-provincial movements and migration efficiencies of those in three broad working age groups (young, middle and older) provide a useful summary of the main patterns. \ud Finally, the report makes use of the information available from the registration data on place of birth as well as on place of residence before and after the move. New insights are given on the proportion of inter-provincial migration that involves return to the province of birth, the age variations in return proportions and the major flows of return migrants between provinces

Publisher: School of Geography
Year: 2000
OAI identifier:

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