More than 75 per cent of the province’s population lives in the coastal towns, and the rest is divided up among the inland towns.
In 1900, 51 per cent of the province’s population lived inland, but due to mass urbanization along the coast and the greater social and economic development, many have moved their and currently just three area, El Ejido, Roquetas de Mar and Almeria city have almost 52 per cent of the province’s total inhabitants.
Meanwhile, farming has lost importance and there are many areas that are uninhabited.
Areas such as Bacares, where many people who worked in mining and farming lived, had 2,156 inhabitants 100 years ago, but now only has 247. Abla has lost 1,000 inhabitants in 50 years, Cuevas del Almanzora had 26,000 inhabitants at the end of the 18th century, most of them employed in mining and agriculture, but after the war, they began to emigrate, falling to 7,795 in the sixties.
Nowadays the population has increased again to 12,000 and continues to show positive growth, but similar stories repeated themselves throughout the 20th century in areas such as Gergal, Ohanes, Santa Fe de Mondujar and Laroya.
In 1910, Sorbas, with plenty of work in farming and handicrafts, had 7,124 inhabitants but this later fell to 2,000, although it has now increased again as it has in Arboleas, Berja, Pechina and Benahadux.
But two out of three towns in the province have lost inhabitants since the 20th century and in 33 per cent of cases, in the past 15 years the process is speeding up.
The influx of foreigners, mainly Moroccans, Romanians, British, Ecuadorians, Argentineans and Germans have given some towns a new lease of life, but on the other hand this hasn’t helped to prevent locals from leaving, and now with the financial crisis and the lack of work in the traditional sectors which employed them, the immigrants are started to leave too.
By Jennifer Leighfield