April 10 2013

Trading Places: The Spanish Migration to Emerging Latin American Economies

Not since the “Conquistadores” have they been arriving in such numbers.

Though the current Spanish migration may be more out of necessity than the inquisitive expedition undertaken in the 1500’s, it may also be a sign of the strengthening dependence that Spain will have on Latin America, and potentially become a trend that may become more prevalent between 1st and 3rd world countries in the 21st century.

Through the latter part of the 20th Century and until the Global Financial Crisis, Spain saw a consistent influx of Latin American migrants that were looking for opportunities to reap the benefits from Spain’s constant economic growth. At the beginning of 2009, 2.5 million people of Latin American origin were Spaniards. The country’s penchant for dining and drinking, as well as their construction boom, were able to provide suitable industries for migrant employment, whilst their compatibility in regards to language assisted their integration.

A student protest in Spain. (Provided by theworld.org)

However, since the Global Financial Crisis, a “reverse migration” has transpired, consisting of Spaniards obtaining their visas to enter flourishing Latin American economies. The majority of Spanish migrants are young graduates who would have had only a 50/50 chance of finding employment in Spain once they completed their degree.

With employment opportunities in Europe bleak and the U.S.A in the midst of a slow recovering recession, the lure of Latin America provides the optimum opportunity for unemployed Spaniards. Furthermore, any monies that may be needed in saving for a move to Latin America are minimal, with the cost of living in the majority of Latin Countries being less than half that of Spain, and flights from Spain being as short as four hours.

As economic phenomenas punctuate the lives of Generation Y, new trends in migration are sure to be formed. Just how long this renaissance “Spanish Invasion” may sustain relies on the country’s ability to architect incentives for their youth, and whether Latin America’s volatile economic systems are able to harness their full potential.

Do you think that the “brain drain” from 1st World Countries to expanding 3rd World countries is a benefit for a growing country? Or is it simply depriving employment opportunities for locals?

Credits: Image and data linked to sources.

Steven Petsinis

Steven Petsinis is an Urban Planning graduate from Melbourne, Australia. He has been involved in Urban Research and Development projects in Medellin, Colombia and Saigon, Vietnam and is currently pursuing his masters in Melbourne, Australia. His main interests lie in land use and social planning, sustainability, as well as studies involving globalization and it's effect on third world communities. He has recently spent one year travelling throughout North and South America, as well as Europe, where he has gathered material and inspiration for his upcoming blogs for The Grid.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 9:18 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Government/Politics, Social/Demographics, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “Trading Places: The Spanish Migration to Emerging Latin American Economies”

  1. Christie Says:

    Interesting thought… surely the impact of migration and increased population would support growth for locals too? Latin America is expansive, which countries are currently seen are being the preferred places for Spanish / European migrants? presumably the building industry are the first to flee?

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