2007: European metropolis, globalised city

The metropolitan city had 3,150,000 inhabitants in the 36 municipalities of the new Strategic Metropolitan Plan (1,595,000 in the municipality of Barcelona). Its composition maintained a strong presence of those people born outside of the province and outside of Catalonia who had arrived in Barcelona many years earlier. What was new, however, was the increase in those people who were born abroad, making up some 16% of the citizens in the city. 

The most recent immigration, with people arriving from throughout the world, shows more diverse origins, education and social composition than all previous migrations. The variety of legal personal situations must be added to this, with a major difference between those coming from the European Union and those from outside the European Community.

It is often the citizens arriving from outside of the EU who carry out the most precarious jobs, from personal and health services to catering and construction. However, throughout the decade of 1998-2007, economic growth meant relative work mobility, because quite a few of the new arrivals have higher qualifications than are necessary for their jobs.


On the other side of the social scale, the atmosphere in Barcelona has also attracted young Europeans and executives of large companies. Between these two groups, is the presence of new citizens with a marked mercantile vocation, whose activity is very visible in the city’s landscape.

The Ciutat Vella has once again become the “port of arrival”, but with the passing of time, the districts of arrival and settlement have become more diverse, especially with the occurrence of family regrouping. The movement of new citizens with low to medium salaries has been noted to the left side of the Eixample, L’Hospitalet and the outskirts to the southwest (especially Latin Americans) and towards the eastern districts and the metropolitan municipalities in the northeast (especially new arrivals from Asia and Africa). While socially well positioned immigrants look for housing in the more well-to-do districts, except for students, who are fans of the old town. 

In any event, the consolidation of ghettos has not been noted. Instead, what has been observed is the repetition of the urban mobility and settlement patterns that were already known and used in the past.