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The socioeconomic level in a large part of TGN city is lower than the Catalan average

An hour and three minutes walking (4.4 kilometers if the distance is measured in a straight line) separate the limit where the area of ​​the city with a lower socioeconomic level of the city ends, the neighborhood of Campclar, and the area with a highest, the Llevant housing estates. The headline, as the crow flies, could be summed up in that Tarragona is a city of extremes and not only geographically.

This is one of the many readings left by the data from the socioeconomic index prepared by Idescat and which concentrates the information from six indicators into a single value: two on employment status, two on educational level, one on immigration and one on income. In this case, the reference data is from 2019.

The index is presented by census groups of between 5,000 and 20,000 inhabitants; a distribution that, in the case of Tarragona, closely corresponds to the traditional distribution by neighbourhoods. The average value of Catalonia stands at 100 points. The whole of the city of Tarragona, in fact, does not reach the average, but rather stays at 95.9, something directly related to the fact that 8 of the 12 groups into which the city is divided are below of 100.

no surprises

Joan Alberich González, associate professor in the Department of Geography at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili and member of the GRATET Anàlisi Territorial i Estudis Turístics research group at the same university, acknowledges that the index does not bring any surprises. The case of the differences between neighbourhoods, he points out, is by no means exclusive to Tarragona. “In Reus, without going any further, you can find three quarters of the same with more depressed areas and others that are better”, but what he does draw his attention to is the great difference between areas. Between Campclar, which has an index of 70.2, and Llevant, where it is 123.5, there is a difference of 53.3 points.

The index, he explains, also confirms that the Francolí River acts as a physical separator of two very different socioeconomic realities.

One of the keys to these differences, he points out, has to do with the quality and price of housing. As an example, we consulted priceviviendas.com, a portal specialized in the value of real estate: the most expensive properties are concentrated in Llevant, especially in the Los Músics neighborhood, and the cheapest in Ponent.

The price of housing, explains the researcher, is directly linked to another determining factor: immigration. It is clearly seen in Ponent, he points out, where in the 1960s and 1970s people came from different parts of Spain to work in the industry. More recently, at the beginning of the current century, it was foreign immigration that settled in the area, partly because of the price of housing and partly because when a group of immigrants is established, it encourages that over time, due to family and social networks, more people arrive from the same origin.

In the case of the city in general and these neighborhoods in particular, it has an impact on the socioeconomic index because it is about economic immigration, that is, people who want to improve their quality of life.

Another aspect in which the differences are notorious is the degree of training, the value, after the percentage of immigrants where the differences are more pronounced. Here the extremes are again in Ponent and Llevant. If in Bonavista there is 25.8% of the population with low education (adults who have passed primary school at most), in Llevant it is 6.9%.

In addition, if attention is paid to the training of young people, the differences tend to perpetuate themselves. If in Campclar more than half (55%) of the young people between the ages of 20 and 34 have a maximum of ESO, in Llevant it is 13.1%.

The challenge of ‘sewing’ a city that grew scattered and where some neighborhoods live with their backs to others is not easy. “There is no short-term solution”, recognizes the expert who considers that urban planning is key and in this the administration will have to carry out “surgical operations”.

Among the measures that he considers may be effective in fostering interaction, he believes that there is the creation of housing at a public price that facilitates a more varied mosaic of the population.

Other measures are the installation of city facilities in certain areas considered the periphery, such as what has been done with the installation of the Mossos police station in Campclar and the Anella Mediterrània. “It’s about generating interest in reverse; that the center also has an interest in moving to the periphery », he concludes.

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