There are 55,319 young Catalans living abroad, an increase of 55.62% in 5 years
The number of Catalans between 15 and 34 who go abroad in search of a "decent" job has increased by 9.24% in the last year, meaning the number of young people living outside Catalonia has increased from 50,640 in 2013, to 55,319 this year, according to a study from the UGT trade union. Between 2009 and 2014, 19,772 youngsters have left Catalonia; a 55.62% increase in 5 years. These statistics were announced in a press conference on Thursday by Afra Blanco, the National Spokesperson for Avalot-Joves section of the UGT in Catalonia. According to Blanco, "the uncertainty, instability, part-time work, underemployment and destruction of jobs" are the factors that have driven young Catalan job-seekers to look for a "respectable life" abroad.
Barcelona (ACN.) – The number of Catalans between 15 and 34 who go abroad in search of a "decent" job has increased by 9.24% in the last year, meaning the number of young people living outside Catalonia has increased from 50,640 in 2013, to 55,319 this year. These statistics were announced in a press conference on Thursday by Afra Blanco, the National Spokesperson for Avalot-Joves section of the UGT in Catalonia. The trade union also stated that between 2009 and 2014, 19,772 youngster had left Catalonia; a 55.62% increase in 5 years. According to Blanco, "the uncertainty, instability, part-time work, underemployment and destruction of jobs" are the factors that have driven young Catalan job-seekers to look for a "respectable life" abroad. Overall, there are 221,444 Catalans living abroad, around a quarter of which are aged between 15 and 34. Most of these young people are choosing to migrate to countries within Europe, although many are also moving to Latin America, North America and China to look for work.
This Thursday, Avalot-Joves section of the UGT released its third report entitled Joves Emigrants Sobradament Preparats, Generació JESP (In English, Young Overly Qualified Emigrants), a document that criticised "the drama" that thousands of young Catalans are "forced" to move abroad in order to achieve "their life project".
The report notes that, whilst unemployment amongst university graduates fell "slightly" last year, there has been an increase of 9.24% in the total number of young Catalans moving abroad. The figure has risen from 50,640 people between 15 and 34 years old living in a foreign country in 2013, to 55,319 this year, an alarming number compared to the 35,547 young Catalans living abroad in 2009. In fact, just last year 4,679 young people from the Autonomous Community went to look for work in a foreign country, the highest number since the crisis began.
Blanco also took the opportunity to emphasise that between 2009 and 2014 the number of young migrants leaving Catalonia increased by 55.62%, which equates to 19,722 young people moving abroad in this time period. Avalot's Spokeswoman commented that these figures do not include those young people who are part of programs that offer paid internships in foreign countries.
Blanco went on to explain that the principal reasons for this mass migration of young Catalans seeking better chances of employment abroad was "the uncertainty, instability, part-time work, underemployment and destruction of jobs". "The logic that investing more time and effort into education and training will guarantee professional success is no longer the case in Catalonia", she commented.
221,444 Catalans living abroad
In the press conference, Blanco also mentioned the statistics related to the total number of Catalans living in a foreign country. She explained that, according to the latest population census of residents living abroad, the number of Catalans that have moved away has increased by 8.98% this year, totalling 221,444 people, compared to 203,250 in 2013. She pointed out that 25% of these people were aged 15 to 34.
A variation amongst the provinces
Of the 55,319 young Catalans living in a foreign country, 43,946 are from the Province of Barcelona (where two thirds of the Catalan population live), 3,752 come from the Province of Lleida, in the west of Catalonia, 3,764 are from the Province of Tarragona, in the south of Catalonia, and 3,857 originate from the province of Girona, in the north-east.
Regarding the increases of young people leaving Catalonia since 2009, out of all four provinces the problem seems to be largest in Girona, which has shown an increase of 74.44% in the last five years. This is followed by the Barcelona Province, which demonstrated a 57.64% growth in young emigrants, then Tarragona Province with a 55.02% rise and lastly Lleida Province, which has shown an increase of 23.74%.
Europe the most popular destination for young emigrants
The report presented by Avalot-Joves UGT also analyses the specific destinations that are being chosen by young Catalans moving abroad. The most popular locations are within Europe, where 42% of young emigrants are choosing to live, particularly in countries such as France, Andorra, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The second most popular destination is South America, where 36% of young Catalans are moving to, favouring countries such as Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil. North and Central America were the next most popular regions, especially Mexico, America, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, chosen by 17% of the people. Finally, China appeared near the end of the list along with Australia and some countries in Africa.
Abolishing the Spanish Government's Labour Market Reform
According to the trade union, the inability to find a decent job, youth unemployment, job insecurity and the abolition of temporary work positions are the principal motives for educated young people to move abroad.
For this reason, Blanco has called for an abolishment of the Spanish Government's Labour Market Reform due to the "inefficiency" of the measure, considering the rise in unemployment and the precarious situation of the current job market which has been "caused by none other than the PP" (the People's Party, who currently holds office in Spain). She was referring to reform approved in 2012, which attempted to combat the rising unemployment problem in the country.
Furthermore, Blanco requested that the Government promote and "definitively" develop a radical action plan to help young people who are currently working outside of Catalonia and do not feel as though they can return home. "The situation for young Catalans is a social emergency that the Government, whichever form that may take, cannot afford to ignore".
A consequence of youth unemployment
After reaching a minimum of 8% unemployment in 2006 to 2007, Spain's job market was badly affected by the economic crisis, and unemployment rates rocketed to above 20% unemployment in 2010 and 27% in 2013. Unemployment rates in Catalonia were lower than in the rest of Spain but were also extremely high compared to the rest of the Eurozone countries.
Although the unemployment rates in Catalonia have begun to fall more recently, youth unemployment is still a big problem in the Autonomous Community. In July 2013 youth unemployment in Catalonia stood at 52.7%, compared to the 23.85% of the general Catalan population in this period.