Monday, January 20, 2014

A year of exodus

Over the last 20 years the population of the Vega Baja has grown, fuelled largely by foreign immigration. However, in 2012 that all came to a halt when 14 out of the 27 towns actually shrunk in size. The biggest loser was  Benijófar  which lost 693 of its residents, a massive 16.5%. Nearby Rojales lost 320, San Miguel de Salinas 590, Catral 435 and Los Montesinos 160.

In towns where agriculture rather than tourism forms the main source of employment, the losses were much smaller. Even still, San Isidro lost 20, Rafal 43, Granja de Rocamora 24, Dolores 48, Daya Nueca 40, Callosa 43, Benferri 7 and Jacarilla 38. I do not have a figure for Bigastro but I image it is in line with the other municipalities.

Overall, there was a net gain of 0.3% but only because the two largest areas of population, Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa grew. There were 1,173 new residents in Torrevieja and 1,485 along the Orihuela Costa. These new neighbours mainly came from Russia and Scandinavia; the British invasion has now largely dried up. it is possible that there are more Brits leaving than arriving although I don’t have figures to show that.

The biggest surprise is Guardamar, which like Torrevieja is on the coast. There the loss was 181 residents. The local PP party put that down to the fact that Guardamar has a socialist held council.  

As I have said before, Pam and I have no plans to leave. After over 9 years, we are still content with our lives here. Of course, you can never say never and we keep an open mind on the situation. The key to our satisfaction has been the determination to integrate with the community and to involve ourselves in the life of the town. Without that, we could well have been in the queue to sell up and leave.

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