Dying Spanish town offers cash incentive for new babies

A village in Castilla y León is offering a cash incentive of €300 to residents who adopt or give birth to a child in a bid to reverse the decline of the town and encourage young families to stay.

Dying Spanish town offers cash incentive for new babies
Stock photo of baby feet. Photo: Amy the nurse / Flickr

Aldeaseca, in the province of Avila is one of many towns across Spain to experience population decline as younger generations move away to seek work leaving only aging residents behind.

The rural town deep in farming country has a population of 254 at the last count in 2014, almost a third of the number of people living there at the town’s peak in 1970 when 610 people called it home.  

Jesús Izquierdo, the mayor of Aldaseca said he has introduced the “baby cheque” as a means to encourage young families to stay.

“We are struggling against a demographic crisis,” the mayor told Spanish news agency Efe.

“In Aldeaseca, we have resorted to new baby grants to try to encourage people to stay and thereby avoid closing services, such as school,” he explained.

“That is basically the goal. No one is going to get pregnant just for a grant of €300,” he conceded.  “but they just might see it as an incentive not to move away.”

Several other municipalities in Spain offer similar incentives as they battle to keep rural communities alive.

Some, like Olmeda de la Cuesta in the arid plains of Castilla-La Mancha, which earned the sobriquet of Spain’s “most aged village” have offered plots for just €2,000 to attract young blood in the hope of reviving the community.

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