Commonwealth Lea Ibarra - Munitibar - Aulesti - Gizaburuaga - Amoroto - Mendexa

Campanile in Gizaburuaga
Population Trends in Lea Ibarra Population in Bizkaia per year
Population in Bizkaia
Population in Bizkaia

Lea Valley - Population in Lea Ibarra

Emigration

We must look at the recently gone century in order to understand the fluctuations that the population of the valley has undergone; in fact, in a hundred years the population in Lea Ibarra has decreased to a half. The biggest population movement, as in many agricultural areas of the Basque Country, took place between 1970 and 1975. This mainly affected the towns of Munitibar and Gizaburuaga. In contrast, Markina, Lekeitio and Ondarroa underwent a great expansion, almost doubling their size.

Unlike today, there were no job opportunities in the affected towns, and no comfortable means of transport either; the birth-rate decreased, and thus schools were facing serious problems. Added to this, there was a great scarcity of properties. Such a tendency to emigrate, therefore, was not surprising.

The situation has changed nowadays. The only significant movement is the internal emigration happening inside the municipalities: the inhabitants of the neighbourhoods tend to move to the town centres.

Population density

Lea Ibarra has a very low population density; this is because the towns cover extensive areas and the population is scattered in the neighbourhoods and farms. On the other hand, although the birth-rate has increased, the unbalance regarding the deathrate still continues, as most of those who did not emigrate are old now.

Level of studies

With regard to young people, there is a clear tendency to do professional and technical studies; this is because those with these qualifications have much better chances to work than those going to university, or at least those who want to work in their field. Added to this, the tendency has a lot to do with the closeness of the valley to the Lea-Artibai school in Markina.

We must say that, although the facts that there are more old people than young people and that the population is scattered can be negative elements, they can also be considered positive:

  • - The population is native, and thus has a strong feeling of belonging to the valley.
  • - The population is Basque through and through, and thus the customs and traditions have been preserved.
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