The island of Tenerife does not stop growing demographically, advanced years ago to Gran Canaria Its population is increasing and it is the one that receives the most immigrants but, nevertheless, its capital is losing inhabitants, something possibly related to the difficulty in accessing housing. It also happens in the palms from Gran Canaria. The geography teacher at the University of La Laguna Louis Jerez exposed yesterday before the parliamentary commission that tries to find answers to the demographic challenge and the population balance in canaryyes, that both cities live in a paradox. They concentrate the largest number of population of the Islands at the same time they have an index of increasing demographic loss. As of January 1, 2021, the number of inhabitants in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was 378,675, the population fell by 2,548 compared to the previous one; in Santa Cruz de Tenerife it went from 209,194 to 208,563 in one year.
How is it explained? Jerez defends that in the Archipelago, rather than talking about depopulation, one should refer to “stagnation” of the population.
The demographic dynamics in the Canary Islands is similar to that of developed societies, that is, aging and a pronounced phenomenon of “skimminess” – births have fallen in the Islands by 14.89% – which offsets the contribution of the immigrant population. But in the Canary Islands, it is also necessary to take into account its complex geographical reality, which leads to 82% of the population being concentrated in the capital islands, Tenerife and Gran Canaria, and then in these on the outskirts of the capitals and from tourist areas, and in the lower medians.
If the tourist islands are added to the capitals, Lanzarote Y FuerteventuraTogether, they concentrate 95% of the population of the archipelago, which counteracts the stagnation of the population in La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro since the 1970s.
Hence the contradiction that the spaces that concentrate the largest number of population, the capitals of the Canary Islands, at the same time have demographic losses.
In this regard, Luis Jerez considers that more precise studies are needed to understand this phenomenon, but the hypothesis suggests that the main cause has to do with the housing market and hence the growth of the peripheries of both cities.
In the Canary Islands, the phenomenon of the real estate bubble continues, which also causes tourist centers such as San Bartolomé de Tirajana or Arona to lose population because “people go abroad in search of a more affordable housing market.” For this reason, he points out that the depopulation of the two capitals and the tourist centers is not problematic, but that of the midlands and the interior of the Islands is.
The consequences are a high degree of aging in the green islands, in which all municipalities have an average population of over 44 years, which also occurs in the rural areas of the capital islands.
And the greater the degree of aging, the more dependent population, which is perceptible in rural municipalities compared to urban ones.
The ULL professor also explained that the immigrant population is concentrated in the capitals, tourist centers and their peripheries except for the elderly Europeans, who occupy the tourist areas with second homes or permanent homes.
Jerez does not believe that it will go to the extreme of talking about ‘city-islands’ in terms of population because a good part of the territory is protected but, he admits, the demographic burden “does make us go towards this concept.
“How to reverse this situation?” he wonders. And he answers: «The Canary Islands are crying out to review their economic model and diversify, so that the primary sector in rural areas will have to be encouraged, something that requires politics with capital words”, he pointed out to the deputies present in the commission.
Train, don’t stop
Parliament also received yesterday the economist José Miguel González who believes that immigration should not be stopped, but rather compete with it “training people, even those who do not want to.” González, who has been general director of Labor of the Government of the Canary Islands and director of the CCOO technical office in the Canary Islands, stressed that the Canary Islands is the second autonomous community in the country in terms of population density, but the last in terms of GDP per capita, which gives a clear idea of its vulnerability and dependency. When the Canary Islands were an objective 1 region of the EU, this indicator was practically on par with the rest of the State, but with the accession statute as an outermost region and the arrival of a significant population flow to the Islands, GDP per capita began to drop. “That means we are less productive.” The paradox that must be resolved is why in the Canary Islands there are unfilled jobs and at the same time a double-digit unemployment figure, and this resistance to lowering the unemployment rate is precisely due to the fact that there is an increase in the active population by immigration and a social protection system that discourages recipients of a benefit. |