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Catalonia: Leaders in immigration

Recerca | 06/04/2008

International comparative study: Catalonia and other cases

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The Catalan-speaking countries lead EU rankings in immigration. Catalonia tends toward a unique model, with limited powers but sensitive to social and cultural cohesion. In comparison with other territories, despite high numbers, it stands out for its low level of conflict, very few outbreaks of xenophobia and a lower marginalization trend.

The study, commissioned by the Centre of Contemporary Issues (CETC) to various international experts, allows us to draw some conclusions. From among 12 comparable (in size, political situation and/or cultural reality) cases, the Catalan Countries stand out with almost 15% of foreigners, arrived recently and in few years and from very diverse origins. This places our country at the head of the EU list, and on the international scene approaches states such as Switzerland (with a higher percentage of foreigners but more European origin).

This leadership can also be projected to the model of coexistence, because unlike other cases studied, the significant migratory flow has not led to important conflicts. The absence of significant xenophobic tendencies, lower marginalization phenomena and a notable economic growth indicate, among other symptoms, that the social costs of immigration have to date been moderate. It will obviously be necessary to wait and see how the situation evolves.

Several factors lie behind this particular model of coexistence. On the one hand, unpredictable developments: a very recent influx, healthy economy, valves offered by informal economy, low birth rate of the natives… On the other hand, predictable developments: fairly tolerant policies (due to conviction or to lack of powers), very decentralized welfare services, cultural integration encouraged but not forced… All points to the need of working along these lines if the above model is to persist.

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