Urban population new spatial patterns under a crisis context: ageing and household changes in Barcelona and Madrid

Isabel Pujadas, Universitat de Barcelona
Fernando Gil-Alonso, Universitat de Barcelona
Miguel Rubiales, Universitat de Barcelona
Jenniffer Thiers, Universitat de Barcelona

During the economically and demographically expansive period lasting from the mid 1990s to 2007, internal and external migrations were the main factor shaping Spain’s urban demographic structures and their spatial patterns. This led to a metropolitan population redistribution based on life cycle and socio-demographic features. Despite prevailing ageing trends, young students or people starting their career, together with newly arrived foreign migrants were attracted by core cities. On the other side, young families with children tended to move away from these central areas towards peripheries –in search of improved environmental conditions and better value for money, higher quality and more spacious housing in suburban municipalities. Hence, this new distribution did not only have demographic consequences but household typology ones, as it affected core city and periphery dominant household types. On the contrary, the economic crisis and its housing market consequences drastically reduced suburbanisation flows and increased centripetal trends, as urban cores raised the amount of affordable rented housing, while the number of new constructions in peripheries plummeted. From a sociodemographic perspective, this implies assuming the hypothesis that migratory dynamics have partly lost relevance in reconfiguring space, while demographic behaviour and urban population structure in itself have gained it. This would lead –and this is our initial hypothesis for this crisis period which begun in 2008– to a greater metropolitan population homogenisation. In other words, it would mean that there would presently be fewer differences between core cities and their own peripheries regarding demographic structures. Therefore, our aim is to analyse how this spatial reconfiguration has affected Barcelona and Madrid urban demographic structures, focusing on ageing and dominant household types. Therefore, 2001 and 2011 aggregated census section data will be our main data source, permitting us to study the main ageing and household structure spatial changes during these ten years.

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Presented in Session 7: Migration and the life course