People & Economy

Population

Lanzarote has a population of 139,000 as of 2010. This represents an increase of 9.4% from 2006. The most populous municipality is Arrecife, which is the capital city of Lanzarote. Arrecife has a population of 59,000. Unfortunately, like much of the rest of Europe, Lanzarote too is experiencing aging, with the percentage of elderly people growing from 7.3% in 1991 to 9.7% in 2011. Similarly, the percentage of youth declined over the same time period to 24.4% from 16.4%.

Break-Up

The majority of the inhabitants (73.9%) are Spanish, Lanzarote also has a sizable number of residents from other European nations, mainly British (4.0%), Germans (2.6%) and Irish (2.5%). Other populous groups include immigrants from Colombia, Morocco, Ecuador, western Africa, China, and India, which constitute a large proportion of the remaining 15.6% of the population.

The ethnic diversity of the island is in large part owed to the Spanish Miracle. Many tourists who arrived at the island enjoyed its climate so much that they decided to call it their home. The prosperity and opportunity that the Spanish Miracle brought also attracted many immigrants from relatively poor countries. This resulted in the end of cultural homogeneity. Since 2009 however with the burst of the Spanish economy many migrants have left Canary Islands to look for better prospects elsewhere. Many locals specially the youth has been forced to move out to look for job opportunities in other parts of the world. 

Lanzarote has an international airport, called Arrecife Airport, through which approximately 5.5 million passengers travel every year. Flights to Lanzarote fly from Europe and Africa via both Charter and regular airlines.This really goes to show the strength of the tourism industry in Lanzarote.

 

Economy

 

Lanzarote’s economy today is dominated by tourism. Over 5.5 million tourists visit the island annually, with earnings from tourism amounting to around 80% of the island’s gross income. In turn, tourism is also responsible for most employment in the island, both directly and indirectly (construction, car rentals, Hotels & Restaurants etc.)

The island’s international airport, Arrecife Airport, saw 5,438,178 passengers travelling through it in 2010.

Agriculture

 

However, it wasn’t always like this. Fifty years ago, before the advent of the Spanish Miracle, agriculture dominated the Canary Islands’ economy. To this day, agriculture remains the second most major industry in Lanzarote.

Somewhat surprisingly, Lanzarote is a major producer of wine, exporting most of its produce to the remaining Canary Islands and southern Spain.  Lanzarote is famous for its dry variety of white wines.

As for other crops, farmers cultivate onions, tomatoes and potatoes in abundance as well as all kinds of vegetables, melons, pumpkins and tobacco. Today, the basis of all crop farming on Lanzarote is a method of dry farming called enarenado, introduced by the island dwellers after the volcanic eruptions in the early 18th century, which had devastated most of the island’s precious farmland. Using this method, plants are grown in black granules of volcanic ash called picón, which absorbs humidity and prevents evaporation. Additionally, low semicircular walls shelter the plants from being dried out by the constant winds. This way, the Lanzaroteños found an ingenious and very successful way to farm with excellent production results.

Lanzarote has no meadows and little grass hence you will not find any cattle or sheep here, but surprisingly there are goats on the island, which were formerly farmed mainly for their milk, but nowadays the goat milk is largely used for cheese production. With abundant fishing grounds between the east of the island and the African coast, fishing has always been a traditional mainstay of Lanzarote’s economy, making Arrecife the second largest fishing port in the Canary Islands, where large quantities of sardines, sea bass and parrotfish are processed.

Like many of the other islands, the island is popular among tourists for its nightlife. Arrecife is home to some of the best night clubs and discotheques in all of Spain.