LA MATA DE MORELLA, a town of just 170 residents, will welcome each new birth or adoption with €2,000, an incentive to boost numbers where the population is in decline.
The town, which boasted almost 660 residents a century ago, has been declining in numbers in recent years, as young people head to larger towns such as Els Ports, the capital of the area where 4,400 residents live.
Only one family has welcomed a newborn and has claimed the reward so far this year. Births are historically low in the town, and the local school only has 14 students.
Most towns in the area offer between 200 and 400 euros on average per child born or adopted in the area.
In July this year the Aragon town of Griegos, a town of just 138 full-time residents, made headlines for offering free homes and jobs to encourage young families to move into the area, an attempt to boost the aging population.
Ernesto Agusti, deputy mayor of Griegos, came up with the initiative in a bid to keep the local school, struggling for pupils, open. Applications, numbering more than 3000, were received from across Spain, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
Depopulation in rural areas is a worrying issue in Spain, and according to a report by the European Association for Information on Local Development (AEIDL), a non-profit based in Brussels, 85% of Spain’s territory is rural, but 80% of the population live in cities.
The European Union defines an area as “sparsely populated”, and at risk of depopulation, when it has fewer than eight residents per square kilometer.
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