Highly educated leave Spanish countryside

by Lorraine Williamson
highly educated workers

Spain’s largest cities are home to the highest-paying jobs. Consequently, this causes highly educated young people to move away from other areas. The chances of getting a good salary in the region are significantly lower.

In Spain, around 1 million people between the ages of 25 and 39 have left their home province for another. More than half of them have higher education. Bright minds don’t always look abroad like they used to, but now also move within Spain.

One of the hardest hit areas by the exodus is the Spanish Plateau in the interior. The region lives up to its nickname of ’empty Spain’. It is one of the hardest hit areas, with young people leaving. In the coastal regions and on the Spanish islands, the exodus is less significant.

Where do the young people go?

The capital Madrid in particular attracts young people from all regions of Spain. The young people mainly come from the inland areas. In the northern autonomous region of Aragon, most people flock to the regional capital Zaragoza.

In the Canary Islands, the main stream goes from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Santa Cruz de Tenerife and vice versa. And in the south, Málaga and Seville swallow up the most talents.

Madrid’s biggest attraction

Madrid remains a major recipient of the population born between 1981 and 1996. Although the city also sees people go. Of those born in the Spanish capital, 17% leave for another province.

In practice, however, more people are joining than leaving. Currently, Madrid has a ‘surplus’ of 60,000 registered voters. This puts it far ahead of the Balearic Islands archipelago, the second province with the most young people.

Living expenses paid dearly

In addition to Madrid, there are two other areas that are seeing an increase in the younger population. A report by the Centre for Demographic Research shows that the provinces of Toledo and Guadalajara are growing because young people can no longer afford house prices in Madrid.

ASSSA - health insurance in Spain

With the growth of the group of well-paid young people in the big cities, the cost of living is rising. It is the literal price paid for the high concentration of skilled and highly educated personnel. This is also the group that most often leaves their home province to look for work elsewhere.

Where do people with a lower level of education go?

Although Madrid, Barcelona and the Basque Country attract many highly educated people, some of the less educated are leaving. Many of them cannot cope with the high cost of living in the big cities.

Of course, these costs are also high for young people with higher incomes. As a result, saving is often difficult for this group. On the other hand, there are more challenging jobs to be found in the largest cities.

Distribution of best-paying jobs

Madrid receives the highest number of highly educated young people from other areas. A similar trend can be seen in Catalonia. Castile-La Mancha, on the other hand, receives most people without education.

Andalucia, Castile-León and Extremadura are the autonomous regions that see the most highly educated young people leave.

Where do you earn the most?

The high number of highly educated young people in an area is almost inherent to the number of well-paid jobs. Almost 2 out of 3 jobs with salaries of more than €4,000 are offered in Madrid, Catalonia or the Basque Country.

This means that the top 10% of the highest incomes in Spain are located in these regions. But also that 70% of the people with the lowest salaries live in the other regions.

Why move?

While work or salary play an important role in the decision to move to another region, researchers at the Centre for Demographic Research caution that there are other factors that come into play as well. The cultural offer, entertainment and diversity also influence a decision to move to another place of residence.

You may also like