Presentation of the report "Inequalities in the Metropolitan Area of ??Barcelona"

The richest municipalities are those that dedicate less money to social services

The Catalunya Europa Foundation, in the framework of the Re-City project, presented the Report "Inequalities in the metropolitan area of Barcelona" that warns of the great inequalities still existing between the 36 municipalities of the Metropolitan Area of ??Barcelona. This is the first study that analyzes up to 50 different indicators of Barcelona and the cities that make up the AMB from the perspective of social sustainability and compares them with those of the rest of Catalonia and those of other 30 cities throughout Of the world.

The report, coordinated by Professor of Economics at the UAB, Xavier Ramos, and produced by researchers Marc Tataret and Rubén García, is the first study done by the Re-City Observatory, which is part of the Re-City project promoted by the Fundació Catalunya Europa with the collaboration of the AMB, the City Council of Barcelona, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the La Caixa Foundation, the Roma Club and the Metropolis network that groups 137 cities around the world.

The report studies the level of economic inequalities and the differences between income per capita, unemployment, poverty, social resources and services, wage gap, access to housing, population instruction, social participation or life expectancy in the municipalities of the AMB. In the presentation, his coordinator, Xavier Ramos, emphasized that "the most unequal societies are societies less cohesive and with less confidence in their institutions, which results in a worse governance and welfare for all." According to Ramos, "cities tend to be more unequal and worry less about the most vulnerable people, but it is a situation that can be reversed by public policy inequalities."

The report highlights that in the AMB, where 3.2 million people contribute 51.5% of GDP in Catalonia, there are strong inequalities between municipalities. Thus, at the moment, the difference of income of the inhabitants according to the municipality in which they live is slightly higher than it was at the beginning of the century, whereas between 1985 and 2000 it had been reduced. In addition, the income of 20% of the wealthiest population in the AMB almost quintupled is that of the poorest 20%. A difference that is lower than in the total of Catalonia, where the income of the richest is up to 5.5 times higher than that of the poorest. According to the study, the average local public spending at the AMB is 1,267€ per inhabitant per year. Two thirds of municipalities, however, do not spend € 1,000 per inhabitant, and four of them (Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Ripollet, Badalona and Sant Andreu de la Barca) spend less than 800€ per capita. At the other end, Castellbisbal, Barcelona, Sant Just Desvern and Sant Cugat del Vallès make a public expense of more than 1,400€ per inhabitant per year.

In most municipalities, the higher the GDP per capita, the greater the public per capita public spending. According to the report, this is because they have a greater fiscal base and, therefore, more recapture capacity, either because they concentrate the economic activity with more added value or the resident population with a higher rent. On the contrary, they are the municipalities where the inhabitants have a lower per capita income, where the proportion of spending devoted to social services is even higher, paradoxically, above higher-income municipalities and GDP. In Badia del Vallès, for example, public spending per inhabitant is € 866, but up to 16.5% of these are devoted to social spending, locating as well as the municipality that devotes more of its expense . On the other side, populations such as Sant Joan Despí or Begues, who spend more than € 1,100 per inhabitant, spend less than 5% of spending on social issues.

To combat these inequalities, the report concludes that "metropolitan redistribution policies are needed to increase the resources of municipalities that have to respond to situations of social urgency". For this reason, it is recommended "to equalize the services to which the inhabitants of metropolitan Barcelona have access, which are currently determined by the municipality of residence of the population." The authors also argue that "reducing metropolitan income inequalities will have an impact on the reduction in the consequences of inequality, as these are strongly linked to the income level of the population." The presentation ceremony was also attended by Josep Maria Vallés, vice president of the Catalunya Europa Foundation, Laia Bonet, deputy mayor of Agenda 2030, Digital Transition, Sports and Territorial and Metropolitan Coordination of Barcelona City Council, and Héctor Santcovsky, director of the Area of Social and Economic Development of the AMB. Vallès underlined that the study is still open to incorporate new indicators while Bonet has celebrated the existence of instruments like this that allow to know in detail the inequalities in the neighborhoods and cities to be able to intervene and reverse the situation.