The Spanish Youth Council (CJE) has quantified the cost that of young people leaving the region at 4,000 million euros if the current figures of Basques who are forced to emigrate due to the lack of employment opportunities remain unchanged. This estimate is contained in the report titled ‘Necessary Youth’, submitted by the CJE and the Basque Youth Council (EGK).

Today, Basque youths have one of the lowest emancipation rates in Europe: only two out of every ten young people have managed to leave their parent’s home. Unemployment affects 45 percent of the people in this group. According to estimates based on data from the Youth Institute in Spain (INJUVE), between 2009 and 2013, more than 9,600 young people emigrated from the Basque Country. The report estimated the losses over the next ten years at 4,410 million euros if the same rate of emigration of young people is maintained. This amount is the result of adding the funds invested by the regional government in the education of these people and the lack of tax revenue due to the fact that they will not be working here.

Pensions and fertility

The authors also wonder what the situation would be if the pension system were a regional responsibility. The conclusion is that the economic burden of pensions on wages “would become unsustainable in the future”, while if measures were adopted to improve the situation of young people “this burden could be reduced”.

If the situation of young people, considering current unemployment, emigration and emancipation rates, remains the same, fertility rates will “fall considerably”, in the opinion of the authors of the paper. This would aggravate the already “high” ageing rate of the population In 2014, the percentage of young people aged 15 to 29 dropped by ten points compared with 1998, and stood at 13.4 percent of the total population of the Basque country.

However, the Basque situation is not so severe when compared with the whole of Spain, where the higher percentage of young people is combined with a lower ageing rate. In fact, most municipalities in the Basque Country are among those with the highest rate of young people in Spain.