Staff Reporter
THE vast majority of the increased population of the Balearics can be traced to an influx of immigrants, while natural growth in numbers can be attributed to only 5.9 percent of the overall population. This was revealed in a study entitled “Assessment of Immigration Population in the Balearic Islands” financed by the Sa Nostra bank and co-ordinated by Pere Salvà, head of Human Geography at the Balearic University. Within a period of four years, the absolute population growth has been 156'589 people, out of which 147'350 are immigrants.
The presence of foreigners who stay in the Balearics for varying stretches at a time was recorded in March of 2002 as standing at 183'436 people. Overall, this figure represents 19.2% of the total population of the archipelago. Other items of interest emerging from this study, to which experts such as Carmel Bonín have contributed, is that only 105'957 people of this “foreign” statistic had addresses lodged with the town council of the area where they lived. On 1 January 2003, Sa Nostra's Economic and Social report confirmed that the number of foreigners who had registered with local authorities stood at 132'303 people. A total of 141'807 foreigners are permanent residents (who live all-the-year-round in the Islands) and 41'629 are temporary residents who live here for long stretches of three months or more at a time. The research, which won a Sa Nostra prize for quality investigation, also reveals that 77'479 foreigners are not documented on official lists of inhabitants. This category of people includes those who have not legalised their presence on the Islands and/or are temporary residents who leave after long periods of stay. Some 75% of immigrants from the African continent who come to the Balearics are concentrated on Majorca, 19.8% on Ibiza and Formentera, and 5.7% on Minorca. Moroccans are the largest immigrant group from Africa, 60% of whom opt to remain on Majorca and 17% on Ibiza and Formentera. Latin American immigrants are also divided in similar proportional ratios around the archipelago: 78.1% on Majorca, 15% on Ibiza and Formentera, and 6.2% on Minorca. Asiatic peoples, centering their activities in areas of mass tourism, reflect the same trend with 78.65% of their numbers on Majorca and 17.7% on Ibiza and Formentera. Overall, women dominate immigrant headcounts (52.27%), most notably showing a female presence in the Balearics from Europe and Latin America. In the case of those foreigners coming from other countries in the European Union and Switzerland, their high numbers are attributable to the importance of female employment in the tourist industry and to a significant presence of elderly women. The same research indicates that Latin American women figure largely in positions of domestic service.
According to Salvá*s work, people from the Southern part of the globe come to the Balearics largely for economic reasons, often because of low-level and insecure living conditions in their countries of origin. Eighty-five percent of immigrants from the South declare they want to remain permanently on the Islands but there are “seasonal” immigrant workers who remain to work in the tourist sector for 6 months of the year. Another reason for immigrants being attracted to the archipelago is the demand for labour in agricultural and construction work.

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