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Clarion Congress & Hotel, Polaris


Beatriz Izquierdo, Department of Sociology. University of Burgos. Spain (bizquierdo@ubu.es)

Patricia Campelo, Department of Sociology. University of the Basque Country. Spain. (patricia.campelo@ehu.es)

Topic: Beyond agriculture. International migration in rural labor markets. The case of the Basque Country, in Northern Spain

Keywords: international migration, labour migration, Basque rural areas.


Basque rural areas are involved in a social and economic restructuring process that started in the late nineties, showing particular features that distinguish this region from others from rural Spain. One of these characteristics is that depopulation has not turned out to be problematic due to the proximity of urban and semi-urban areas and, also, to the demographic increase in the Basque rurality. A migration process that has been gradual and quite heterogeneous, focusing firstly along the nineties on coastal areas with newcomers coming for urban places. At the same time, from the last fifteen years the villages in the interior have been perceiving the settlement of international migration. The paper shows the social and economic diversification and complexity of rural population, paying special attention to international migration in Basque rural areas, as very limited studies have focused on them.
The study examines their demographic profile, and particularly attends to the international migrants’ labour market. With that aim, it is analyzed data provided by the Spanish Statistical Institute (INE) from the last fifteen years, as well as some other labour and residential statistics, which had been kept unpublished, provided by the Basque Statistical Agency (EUSTAT).

The results show a relatively heterogeneous profile (and in some way different from urban areas), finding territorial concentrations of migrants depending on their area of origin, coming most of them from Latin America, Rumania and Africa. Concerning employment, the analysis suggest the existence of two parallel labour markets in those rural areas: one composed of local workers, with generally better job conditions, and a second one carried out with international migrants. It can be observed a big presence of these workers in primary sector, service (tourism) and construction. In addition, from a gender perspective the results widely show the occupational segregation of foreign women.

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