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Balearic Islands: One wave after another

Recerca | 01/04/2008

The case of the Balearic Islands

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The islands, a worldwide tourist destination, have received a considerable number of both seasonal and permanent foreigners for decades. There is no open conflict but there is clear concern regarding the sustainability of the process.

In less than a century, the Balearic Islands have gone from being a rural society to a vibrating economy based on tourism and services. Immigration has been constant, first from other regions of Spain, and in recent years with the arrival of a growing number of foreigners. This second process is due to an initial phase of residential motivation, by the North European population, followed in the last 15 years by immigration of a labour nature.

Overall, the foreign population is now almost 20% of the total. This figure obviously does not include peninsular immigration, which has already had to undergo an unequal integration process. It should moreover be taken into account that the massive arrival of seasonal visitors puts the capacities of infrastructures, public services, landscape and social and cultural coexistence to the test.

There are therefore many types of immigrants in the Islands, and a great number of very diverse problems. Until now the changes, which have made demography in the Balearics shoot up, have not caused rejection beyond tiny groups. Considerable concern is, however, detected concerning the impact that it may have overall on the territory and on the native society, which feels threatened by becoming a minority.

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     Ditsribution of the foreign residents according to their weight on the total population
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  •  Distribution of the foreign residents for big areas of origin. 2007
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