Historically famed for the microclimate that brought health benefits due to the location in a natural park area, with an ecosystem supported by the lagoons, and shadow-protected by the surrounding mountains, not to mention the benefits of the Mediterranean Sea, the benefits brought by the natural environment are now being overshadowed by the reality of human intervention, as Torrevieja has been named among the five Spanish cities with the “lowest well-being” in the country.

The Valencian Community is one of the three autonomies – along with Andalusia and the Canary Islands – where the majority of localities have well-being values ​​below average, and Torrevieja is one of those that presents “lower well-being” along with La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz), Ceuta, Melilla, and Algeciras (Cádiz).

These are some of the conclusions of the latest Report on Inequality in Spain, which the Fundación Alternativas has prepared for the sixth year to try to analyse on this occasion the effect of the demographic, climate, and digital transitions on poverty and, more directly, on inequality.

Regarding global warming and associated climate change, the report indicates that Alicante, due to its tendency to increase water stress, is among the cities at risk of desertification and in which its potential and opportunities will significantly worsen.

At the national level, economic and social inequality is concentrated on the one hand in large cities compared, above all, to the rural world and on the other, territorially, it presents levels significantly higher than the average in Madrid, the Mediterranean coast, and the islands.

The report argues that this trend can only be corrected with political will and private collaboration, acting in the areas of access to housing and digitalisation, the improvement and extension of public services and the rationalisation of production and consumption, all of this. in a more balanced way than at present and with attention to regional and local peculiarities and competencies.

Going into detail, from the multiple data available, the study says, “clearly” emerges a notable correlation between the size of the municipality and the average net income per household in 2021 and, at the same time, greater income inequality as the number of households increases. population.

The percentage of the immigrant population, which is concentrated in large cities, also has a significant relationship with inequality, since they tend to occupy jobs with below-average qualifications and therefore raise the inequality figures of the municipalities where they are more present.

It warns that the two main threats to equality in the city of the future are the transformation of the labour market due to technological advances, and the housing problem.

The first could accentuate the socioeconomic polarisation of urban society as a consequence of the successive adjustments planned in the labour market (with the inherent risk of increased unemployment) and the increase in the segment of low-paid labour.

Regarding housing, the report maintains that, if the current tendency to put its economic dimension before its social dimension as a basic necessity continues, the aforementioned polarisation will worsen, aggravating the dynamics of urban segregation, as well as affordability problems, substandard housing and homelessness. It should be noted that according to the Institute of National Statistics, around 30,000 properties are currently vacant in Torrevieja, around a quarter of the stock, and yet there seems to be an obsession to build more and destroy the natural landscape in doing so.

Regarding global warming and associated climate change, the report points out that they generate territorial inequalities from a double perspective, both because they harm the most disadvantaged to a greater extent due to their lesser capacity to adapt and because they unequally modify opportunities for the general population of the territories most affected, forcing them in extreme cases to emigrate.

It focuses mainly on the risk of desertification and predicts that the potential and opportunities of the autonomous city of Melilla and the provinces of Granada, Almería, Ciudad Real, Seville, Badajoz, Córdoba, Huelva, Jaén, Cádiz and Málaga will significantly worsen, to which are added Murcia, Albacete, and Alicante due to their tendency to increase water stress.