Most Spaniards live in high-rise buildings

by Lorraine Williamson
High-rise buildings popular in Spain

MADRID – Why do more people live in high-rise buildings in Spain that in other European countries? The Spanish newspapers El Mundo and El País tried to answer this question on the basis of historical, sociological and economic factors.

According to the latest figures from Eurostat, with 64.9%, Spain is the second EU country with the highest percentage of inhabitants living in high-rise buildings. Only Latvia is ahead of Spain with 66.2%. On the other hand, Spain also ranks second among EU countries with the lowest percentage of the population living in detached houses (12.9%). In this case, only Malta is ahead of Spain with 4.6%.

Why do so many people live in high-rise buildings in Spain? 

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo tries to answer this question on the basis of three factors. For example, from a historical, economic and sociological point of view. El País also made an attempt to explain this situation last year, in collaboration with experts.

History of Spain after Franco

From a historical point of view, one must consider the massive migration of people from the countryside to the city since the Franco period. Mainly for economic reasons, people move to the city because there is more employment. The fact that people want to live closer to their work makes sense. And because cities can only handle a limited number of people, it makes more sense to build at height to accommodate them.

Cogesa Expats

Uneven economic situation in Spain 

Before – but certainly also after – the economic crisis, there is economic inequality and the difference between incomes in Spain is very large. The wealthier real estate owners can simply make more profit if they build at height. People with lower to middle incomes often cannot afford single-family homes and are turning to buying or renting a condo or apartment.

Conservative Spaniards

A Spanish real estate agent tells El Mundo that Spaniards are quite conservative when it comes to money. In the past, an investment in a house was considered very solid. But the bursting of the real estate bubble has ensured that more Spaniards have started renting. and in Spain there are more apartments for rent than terraced or detached houses. Spaniards choose the safe option and rent an apartment to move to a larger house outside the city later on.

How do the residents of the European Union live? 

Last yearan average of 46% of the residents of the European Union lived in a flat. 34.7 percent live in a detached house; 18.6% in a semi-detached house and 0.6% in another type of house. 

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