Residential Concentration of Latin American Immigrants in the Metropolis of Barcelona and Lisbon. an Analysis of Territorial Integration.

Jenniffer Thiers-Quintana, Universitat de Barcelona
Isabel Pujadas-Rúbies, Universitat de Barcelona
Jordi Bayona-i-Carrasco, CED, Barcelona
Jorge Malheiros, IGOT, UL

Spain and Portugal are strong areas of attraction for Latin American immigrants, due to historical reasons that involve idiomatic and cultural proximity. Out of the many aspects that affect the integration process of these immigrants, we will focus our attention here on the territorial scope.

We do this by comparing two Iberian metropolises: the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona (MRB) and the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (LMA), where we identify the concentration of the Latin American immigrant population (by their country of birth), establishing typologies of concentrations created via residential mobility, and deepening our understanding of the immigrants within this group.

The data used corresponds to the Population Census of both countries for 2011, which indicates that the MRB has 4,987,402 inhabitants, of which 14.8% are immigrants and 51.1% of them are of Latin American origin; while the LMA has 2.821.826 inhabitants, with 13.9%, and 19.7% respectively. Although the weight of the population of Latin American origin on the total number of immigrants is not the same in both, and in the LMA a single group - Brazilians - represents almost 95% of all Latin Americans, we make the comparison using other criteria such as the Location Coefficient to identify zones of concentration.

Some results indicate that, in both areas studied, the highest concentrations reach low levels; these areas also have representation in the historical centers (the main gateways of immigration); and that the rest of these concentrations tend to be located in the peripheral areas, which could be shaping a socio-cultural system within the immigrant population of Southern European countries, generated through internal residential mobility and not direct migration from abroad, which we also analyze. On the other hand, it is also observed that in the LMA the areas of low concentration of the population are more representative than in the MRB.


Introduction

Spain and Portugal are strong areas of attraction for Latin American immigrants, due to historical reasons that involve idiomatic and cultural proximity. Out of the many aspects that affect the integration process of these immigrants, we will focus our attention here on the territorial scope.

We do this by comparing two Iberian metropolises: the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona (MRB) and the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (LMA), where we identify the concentration of the Latin American immigrant population (by their country of birth), establishing typologies of concentrations created via residential mobility, and deepening our understanding of the immigrants within this group.

Methodology and Study Areas

The data used corresponds to the Population Census of both countries for 2011, which indicates that the MRB has 4,987,402 inhabitants, of which 14.8% are immigrants and 51.1% of them are of Latin American origin; while the LMA has 2.821.826 inhabitants, with 13.9%, and 19.7% respectively. Although the weight of the population of Latin American origin on the total number of immigrants is not the same in both, and in the LMA a single group - Brazilians - represents almost 95% of all Latin Americans, we make the comparison using other criteria such as the Location Coefficient to identify zones of concentration.

Theoretical Approaches

Two major areas of our research relate to immigrant concentration and mobility. On the one hand, there are studies that examine the relation between the concentration of the immigrant population and the dispersion. In this case, we also focus on the native population. A term popularly known as "white flight" (Frey and Liaw, 1998) can lead to an increase in the concentration of immigrants. On the other hand, and from a similar perspective but focusing on the internal immigrants, we discuss "ethnic avoidance", that is to say, the possibility, mainly by the native population, but also of other groups, to avoid spaces of high concentration of immigrants. Finally, concentration also means, in some cases, an increase in the immobility of immigrants, as Rathelot and Safi (2014) indicate in the French case.

Initial results

In previous research (Thiers et al., 2015), and for a lower territorial area (the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona), we observed how the concentrations of Latin Americans were directly related to migratory movements. While the center of the city of Barcelona (Ciutat Vella) was a space that attracted a population of migrants from abroad and included nationalities of more recent settlement, we find that in the first metropolitan peripheral area the Latin American residents had mostly migrated from other parts of the city, but especially from the center. Internal migration could be primarily responsible for the growth of territorial concentration. On the other hand, those who were in these spaces of concentration were, from a sociodemographic point of view, characterized as the worst located within the social structure of the collective.

In extending our study, we want to discover how the settlement of Latin Americans via residential mobility creates a positive phenomenon linked to the knowledge of inhabited space, but also to expand our knowledge of the similarities and dissimilarities that may exist between the Barcelona case and the one in Lisbon.

Some results indicate that, in both areas studied, the highest concentrations reach low levels; these areas also have representation in the historical centers (the main gateways of immigration); and that the rest of these concentrations tend to be located in the peripheral areas, which could be shaping a socio-cultural system within the immigrant population of Southern European countries, generated through internal residential mobility and not direct migration from abroad, which we also analyze. On the other hand, it is also observed that in the LMA the areas of low concentration of the population are more representative than in the MRB.

These typologies of concentration, together with the characteristics of the territory (both physical and social), in which positive phenomena of linkage between the population, such as the creation of different social entities and commerce, among others, are observed, are the issues within the situation of the Latin American collective that we intend to highlight.

References

Frey, W.H. y Liaw, K-L. (1998). Immigrant Concentration and Domestic Migrant Dispersal: Is Movement to Nonometropolitan Areas “White flight”?, The Professional Geographer, 50:2, 215-232.

Rathelot, R. y Safi, M. (2014). Local Ethnic Composition and Natives’ and Immigrants’ Geographic Mobility in France, 1982–1999. American Sociological Review, 79(1), 43-64.

Thiers, J.; Bayona, J. y Pujadas, I. (2015) “Inmigración extranjera, concentración territorial y movilidad residencial: un análisis de las dinámicas recientes en la ciudad de Barcelona en base al Censo de 2011”. En García Castaño, F. J.; Megías, A. y Ortega, J. (Eds.) Actas del VIII Congreso sobre Migraciones Internacionales en España (Granada, 16-18 de septiembre de 2015) (pp. S31/53–S31/66). Granada: Instituto de Migraciones.

Presented in Session 1234: Posters