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Álava’s Youth Population Decrease: 6,176 In Last Decade

The highest peak of residents between the ages of 15 and 29 occurred in 2010, the only year above 50,000. The delay in having a stable life delays the first maternity until the age of 32. More and more are confessing that they do not want to have children.

In today’s society, mothers and fathers have their first son or daughter when they are already 32 years old: If we add to this the decrease in the number of young people between the ages of 15 and 29 who want to have offspring, the result is that, over the years , the population pyramid has narrowed in this age group to the point that only fourteen out of every hundred inhabitants of Álava and the Basque Country are young.

Although it is true that the total population of the Basque Country has maintained very moderate growth levels since it exceeded two million inhabitants for the first time in 1975, in the case of youth, the decline is continuous and intense until 2015. then it seems that it is increasing somewhat, but at a very slow pace, assesses the Youth Observatory at the end of 2022. The case of Álava is disturbing, which in the last decade, in the eleven years between 2010 and 2021, has lost 6,176 young people. The highest peak in this series and the only year above the barrier of 50,000 young people in the territory was in 2010.

Today, half of the Basque population aged 15 to 29 (51.1%) resides in Bizkaia, 34.3% in Gipuzkoa and the rest (14.7%) in Álava, that is, 44,752 inhabitants .

This demographic value places the Basque Country as one of the European regions with the lowest numerical weight of youth within an already aged continent. From Cyprus to Denmark and the Netherlands; from Sweden to Ireland and Croatia or from Germany and France to Portugal, Spain and Greece, it doesn’t matter where you look at the map, the Basque Country is at the bottom, with the lowest youth rate. To cite an example, if in 2010 there were 79 young people for every hundred residents over the age of 64, eleven years later there were 60.

Several factors come together when analyzing this situation. One of them is that the average age at which one has the first son or daughter, which has been maintained for two decades above 30 years; the latest data points to 32.2 years. Age that still increases in the case of mothers of Spanish nationality (33 years). Among young women of foreign nationality, it stands at 28.6 years. However, they are also delaying their first pregnancy.

Another example is the global fertility rate, which is a determining factor in the process of inversion of the population pyramid and which in the Basque Country is below the EU average. This is the index that reflects the number of births in a year for every thousand women of childbearing age, that is, in the age range of 15 to 49 years.

In addition, gradually and as the years go by, the number of young people wanting to have offspring decreases. And those who want to have children one day set the ideal age between 29 and 30 for women and one more for men. However, that ideal age is lower, it does not correspond to the real age at which they become parents for the first time.

But, without a doubt, it is not only about wanting or not wanting to have children. It is a decision weighed heavily by social and economic conditions. The most, family reconciliation, for the professor of Human Geography at the UPV/EHU Itziar Aguado, which makes it difficult to have more children.

Then there is the age at which the labor market is entered. The majority of young people dedicate themselves basically to studying and this student stage is lengthening over time and when they finally find a job, the temporary employment is high and affects two out of every three young salaried people. Without forgetting that the average net salary they earn is 1,150 euros per month and that four out of ten fear losing their job or that their working conditions will worsen.

In Search of Stability

In short, the majority depend financially on their family and only 14.6% admit to being economically independent, to which must be added the high cost and scarcity of housing, both rented and owned, and the rise in mortgages and rents, which leads to a delayed emancipation of young people between 18 and 34 years old and who do not dare to have sons or daughters until they have a stable life.

In addition, the young population of foreign nationality is not growing either. It increased considerably years ago until reaching its highest value in 2012, to then start a continuous decline, only reversed in 2019 and 2020.

“If we look at the evolution of the youth index among people of foreign nationality and compare it with that of the general population, we can verify that, in both cases, the percentages are decreasing, although the proportion of young people among the foreign population it is ten points above the average”, points out the demographic report. And it should not be forgotten that immigration favors a more young population; for now, the higher your weight, the greater your contribution to population rejuvenation. he

Young Population

Demographic trend. The youth index or proportion of young people between the ages of 15 and 29 with respect to the population as a whole has not stopped falling in recent years in the Basque Country, 13.9% in 2021, according to the Youth Observatory.

By territories. 14.7% of the Basque population between the ages of 15 and 29 reside in Álava (44,752 people), 51.1% live in Bizkaia (155,769 people) and 34.3% in Gipuzkoa (104,546 people).

In Alava. Eleven years ago, in 2010 there were 50,928 inhabitants between the ages of 15 and 29 in the territory. In 2021, 44,752 people in this age group, which represents a small upturn compared to 2020 (44,747). The lowest figures in the entire series occur in the years 2016 (42,433) and 2017 (42,534) but the trend of the last decade has been clearly downward.

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