Guissona becomes first municipality in Catalonia where foreign citizens are a majority

Guissona, in the centre of Catalonia, has a large immigrant population, which now represents 50.08% of the village’s population. The reason is that Guissona hosts the largest company in the province, the Cooperativa Agropecuària de Guissona (CAG), a meat processing business. 90% of Guissona’s population is employed.


October 30, 2010 12:29 AM

Guissona (ACN).- Guissona, in the county of Segarra, became the first municipality in Catalonia to have more than 50% of its population coming from foreign countries. The village population register this week counted 6,568 residents in the village, from which 3,279 (49.92%) have Spanish nationality and the rest, 3,289 (50,08%), are foreigners. In Guissona, there are 48 nationalities. Most of the foreigners come from Eastern Europe, followed by people coming from Senegal and Morocco. The employed population is higher than 90% in the village, as most of the people work for the meat-processing giant Cooperativa Agropecuària de Guissona (CAG).

In 10 years, Guissona has doubled its population and has become the municipality in Lleida with the fastest growth rate. In the year 2000 it had 3,339 residents. Now it has 6,568 inhabitants. In only one year, Guissona has grown with by 423 new residents, a 6.4% increase. This increase is related with the CAG company. In 2010, CAG has already received 8,000 job applications, with 100 new positions available. CAG has 3,500 direct jobs, with 85% on a permanent contract, and 450 indirect jobs. It is growing at a rate of 100 jobs per year and prioritises people living in the village.

No social or ethnic conflicts

Despite the high number of foreigners, there are no social or ethnic conflicts in Guissona. This is in part thanks to the low unemployment rate and the work of the Town Hall, which is constantly trying to adapt the size of the services it provides. New schools have been built, as well as a new elder home, sports facilities, officially protected housing, a new library and a new health centre, among others. In addition, free Catalan language courses are given, allowing all foreigners to have the opportunity to learn the language spoken by most of the village inhabitants.