Palma.— According to a study of Balearic population growth between 1996 and 2011 carried out by the Balearic University, immigration has accounted for 87 percent of the increase in inhabitants over the past five years.

The social investigation was spearheaded by the University's Professor for Human Geography, Pere Salva, who yesterday reported that only 12.34 percent of the population growth was due to an increase in the domestic population.

Professor Salva explained that tourism has obviously had an important impact on the population but so too has the influx of people looking for work and a better life, hence he compared the phenomenon over the past five years to that of the Balearics being a “new California”.

According to the results of the investigation, in 1996, foreigners accounted for just 4.22 percent of the Balearic population. At the beginning of this year, that share had risen to 21.8 percent, 242, 570 people.

During the five year period he and his team examined, Selva discovered that the overall Balearic population grew by 31.6 percent, or 352'333 inhabitants according to Town Hall registers.

And, according to the report, immigrants accounted for 87.6 percent of the increase.
According to Salva, over the years, the Balearics has experienced two different types of immigration.
In the 70's, he said the Balearics enjoyed its “new Florida” phenomena when most of the people coming to the Balearics were retired Europeans who wanted to relax and have fun in the sun.

Labour market
However, Salva explained come the mid 90s, that changed with immigrants being primarily attracted to the Balearics by the labour market and the prospect of a better life, hence he has referred to this period as “new California.” But, apart from those who moved to the island in search of employment, Salva said that the Balearics has a whole host of attractions and that there are many reasons why thousands of Europeans, for example, have chosen to live here.

Apart from the region's global recognition as a tourist destination due to the annual promotional campaigns he said that the Balearics has always possessed a very high level of business potential because of its multi-cultural population and its close proximity to most of Europe's large cities and business centres.

And finally, many Europeans have friends or family who already lived in the Balearics.