The intensity of rural depopulation in Catalonia has diminished since the 1980s. New population growth patterns are occurring in rural areas, basically due to immigration. Although there has been a certain awareness of the magnitude of this process and its territorial distribution, little is known about the protagonists in this immigration and the impact on rural municipalities. Results are presented from a study of the immigration process in a group of rural inland municipalities close to the Costa Brava, a Mediterranean coastal region with extensive tourism. The great beauty of the landscape and the existence of housing stock that is being abandoned but remains desirable have led to a population influx from Catalonia's large urban areas, especially Barcelona, purchasing these homes as a primary or secondary residence. This has led to rehabilitation of the housing stock, but also to higher housing prices and the resulting exodus of the young local population that cannot afford them; a potential source of conflict between the local population and the newcomers. The study is based on census data and statistical records, as well as extensive fieldwork, including interviews with local residents, newcomers and key informants. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Rural areas
- Rural gentrification