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WorldCantabria fights against depopulation: population loss slowed down in 2023 in the...

Cantabria fights against depopulation: population loss slowed down in 2023 in the 39 municipalities at risk

The loss of population slowed down in 2023 in the 39 Cantabrian municipalities at risk of depopulation, which total 25,071 inhabitants, 0.04% less than in 2022. Specifically, 19 of these municipalities gained population compared to last year, 17 lost it and three maintained it.

These are data that emerge from the latest annual activity report of the Advisory Council against Rural Depopulation, which takes stock of the impact of the actions developed by the autonomous Government and analyzes the Annual Population Census of the Cantabrian Institute of Statistics (ICANE), and of the which the Executive reported this Saturday, which highlighted that Regional initiatives to fight rural depopulation have managed to slow down the loss of population.

This report reflects that The 39 municipalities at risk of depopulation have 25,071 inhabitants compared to 25,194 four years ago, although the population reduction in 2023 has slowed down significantly compared to previous years, losing only 0.04% of the population compared to to 2022.

The population decrease in 2022 was 0.25% compared to 2021; 0.29 percent in 2021, compared to the previous year, and 1.28 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

Besides, Of the 39 municipalities at risk of depopulation, 19 have a positive balance, 48.7%. The municipalities with a positive balance are Anievas, Arenas de Iguña, Arredondo, Bárcena de Pie de Concha, Cabuérniga, Cieza, Cillorigo de Liébana, Herrerías, Miera, Rionansa, Ruente, San Miguel de Aguayo, San Roque de Riomiera, Santiurde de Reinosa, Tresviso, Tudanca, Valdeprado del Río, Valderredible and Vega de Pas.

For its part, Three municipalities maintained their inhabitants compared to 2022 and 17 lost population.

Pesquera was the one that lost the most residents, 11.39 percent, while San Miguel de Aguayo was the one that experienced the most population growth, with 12.9%.

The Minister of the Presidency, Isabel Urrutia, whose department coordinates in the Government the initiatives to fight against depopulation in the rural areas of the region, has evaluated these figures and has considered that, although the difference in total population remains negative in these municipalities , depopulation in Cantabria “has slowed down significantly during 2023.”

In his opinion, the new measures implemented by the regional Executive in the latest budgets and in the Law of Fiscal and Administrative Measures They will be able to “even more” establish population and attract new neighbors.

Among them, he has highlighted the tax benefits for residing in these areas with deductions for the purchase of a habitual residence, as well as the reform of the Land Law, which allows the construction of both single-family homes and buildings linked to different activities.

Also, the Cantabrian Government has increased the percentage of regional financing to 95 percent for public works carried out in municipalities at risk of depopulation.


The report details the measures developed by all the ministries and the balance of their execution. During the past year, 144 actions and measures were developed in the 39 municipalities, including the regional personal income tax deductions, approved in 2023 and which came into force on January 1.

In education, the number of teachers in rural centers located in these areas has increased, in addition to the preference of these centers for innovation projects.

Free school transport and meal scholarships are also the axis of these policies against depopulation, which entail a joint investment of 3.5 million euros.

Among other measures, there is also the financing of electronic administration services in some municipalities; ATM maintenance; the medication dosing system from which 157 patients benefit; or the execution of infrastructure works and improvements to public services.

The reform of the Land Law to facilitate urban management is also included; aid for the purchase of housing for those under 35 years of age in population centers of less than 5,000 inhabitants; and programs to prevent social isolation and unwanted loneliness.

In terms of employment and industry aid, these areas are prioritized and other specific business acceleration and open innovation programs are developed in rural environments; and in Culture, a plan is being executed to bring cultural actions closer to rural areas and expand their offer.

Support for the primary sector is developed with agricultural production programs and aid to improve infrastructure, food products, fairs, along with rural development measures and in favor of livestock farming.

The Executive makes other investments within the forestry plan or the defense of the natural environment, as well as the promotion of renewable energies.

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