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Sunday, January 19, 2020

The population of the south of Tenerife has more than doubled so far this century

Playa de las Ámericas from the air 2019

The population of the south of the island reaches 300,000 inhabitants

Pioneers such as Rafael Puig and his son Santiago, began the conquest of the south of the island in 1965 and a year later the resort of Playa de las Ámericas was created. From that time, the initial health tourism in Los Cristianos gave way to mass tourism; and over time, tomato and banana plantations were replaced by hotels and golf courses and the cliffs, by artificial beaches. The southern highway was born, which linked the capital with Los Cristianos and agriculture and fishing workers left to become masons and waiters.

Guía de Isora, Arona and Adeje were depopulating, while coast and urban centers grew along the new road, which reduced the time it took to get from Santa Cruz to Los Cristianos by more than two hours. The highway was the great impulse that the south needed.

In the last half century, the south has not stopped growing and has continued to be El Dorado for thousands of workers who earn their daily bread in hotels, in construction or in the service sector. Many left their families in the north or in La Gomera to move to Granadilla, Arona, Adeje or Guía de Isora, although there are also those who come from other towns in the south or the metropolitan area and the trend continues today, although on a smaller scale because obtaining affordable housing in the south has become a complicated task. There are many citizens who turn down jobs because of it; or who travel to the south by car or bus, despite the loss of time in endless queues.

The lack of training of the native population, especially in languages, has, in turn, allowed the massive arrival of foreign workers, both European and South American, while Asian citizens (Chinese and Indian) take up a good part of the trade, alongside multinational chains. And so, in half a century, the south has gone from being the great unknown of Tenerife to becoming the economic engine of the Island.

Today, it's not surprising that the south is the most prosperous region and, therefore, has increased in population the most. In the twenty years of this century alone, the twelve municipalities of the south from Candelaria to Santiago de Teide have gone from having 145,000 inhabitants to 300,000. In other words, the population has more than doubled. And that's counting only those who are registered. Those tourist-residents who spend half the year in their apartments in Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje, Playa Paraíso, Los Gigantes or El Médano are not counted; nor are those who make their living in the municipalities of the south but sleep in the capital or in the north.

Just get on the TF-1 at seven or eight in the morning to see the river of vehicles that move to the south and the few at that time that travel in the opposite direction. That is the faithful reflection of the labor and population movement. It's worth highlighting the population growth in the last twenty years experienced by Adeje and Arona, the main tourist receivers of the island. Official figures at January 1, 2019 show that Adeje had 47,869 inhabitants, against 14,007 in the year 2000. The progress of Arona has been similar: the council states that the population approaches 100,000, although officially it is estimated at 81,216.

Two other tourist municipalities, Guía de Isora and Santiago del Teide, have grown more moderately, while Granadilla and San Miguel de Abona have almost tripled their populations, due to becoming dormitories for tourist workers.

None of the twelve southern municipalities has lost inhabitants this century, although Arafo did in 2018, quite the opposite of Candelaria, which grows at the pace of the beginning of the century approaching 30,000 inhabitants, while Güímar already reached 20,000.

Within this analysis, we must also not forget that the south has the largest foreign populations in Tenerife; in this order, these include Italians, who only in Arona and Adeje make up 10% of the population; followed by English, Germans and Russians. Meanwhile, Venezuelans, Colombians and Cubans are a majority in Granadilla, with throughout the south the presence of Chinese and Moroccan citizens.

El Sur duplica su población y alcanza los 300.000 habitantes

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