Ethnic Diversity in European Labor Markets

Ethnic Diversity in European Labor Markets

Challenges and Solutions

Edited by Martin Kahanec and Klaus F. Zimmermann

This highly accessible book illustrates how policy makers can address and nurture the effects of growing ethnic diversity in European labor markets.

Chapter 12: Social and Labor Market Integration of Ethnic Minorities in Spain

Sara de la Rica

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, labour policy


Sara de la Rica INTRODUCTION Spain has traditionally been a country of emigrants. From 1850 to 1953 approximately 3.5 million Spaniards left for the Americas from regions such as Galicia, Asturias and the Canary Islands. Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Cuba were some of the most popular destinations of these emigrants. However from the mid-1970s onwards Spain became the host country for foreign workers from North Africa and Latin America. Outmigration diminished during the international economic crisis of the early 1970s, whereas immigration grew at a steady pace. The transition from an immigrant-sending to an immigrant-receiving country was the by-product of a larger shift in regional migration patterns. By the late 1980s and early 1990s Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Portugal and Italy had become immigrant-receiving nations owing to a variety of factors: (i) their geographical proximity to immigrant-sending regions, for example Africa; (ii) barriers to immigration in traditionally immigrant-receiving nations during the 1950s, 1960s and part of the 1970s, as was the case in Germany, Switzerland and France; and (iii) the improved economies of Mediterranean countries. The largest immigration flow has taken place since the mid-1990s. Figure 12.1 shows the changing composition of the immigrant stock from 1995 to 2004.1 Although Europeans accounted for half of all immigrants in 1995, the stock of immigrants from Latin American and Africa increased at a faster rate after 2000, catching up with the stock of European immigrants in 2004. In addition to ethnic minorities resulting from immigration, another ethnic minority group in Spain...

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