Key Facts

Population: 100,000
Country: Spain


Barakaldo is a medium-sized municipality in the Greater Bilbao area. Following the industrial recession of the 1980s, Barakaldo experienced significant population decline and local unemployment rose to over 10%. At the turn of the century, much of the town’s industrial heritage was redeveloped and the population stabilized at just over 100,000 people. The growth of the service sector boosted employment and slowed down depopulation.


However, Spain’s prolonged turmoil after the global financial crisis lasted well into the 2010s, pushing Barakaldo’s unemployment to almost 20%, and youth unemployment even higher. Whilst Barakaldo’s former industrial zone did yield some of the “Guggenheim” effect, most of the tourism revenue still flows into Bilbao.


The municipality has been making significant efforts to support young people by expanding the stock of affordable housing, however, continued precarious employment and insufficient income of young people remain the biggest barriers that young people face when wanting to establish an independent adult life.


Through UPLIFT, Barakaldo City Council is hoping to identify the needs and key challenges of local working youth in order to co-create holistic support services for vulnerable young people. Whilst having access to supported housing schemes, young people will have the opportunity to take part in individualized development programs that intend to improve soft skills and employability, provide complex and up-to-date labour market updates, job search advice as well as coaching. Activities will be adapted in order to integrate specific needs based on cultural (migrant) background and/or gender. Understanding the causes for the ongoing struggles that these young people experience, will allow for the development of longer term local policies according to a reflexive policy agenda.

  • Local action plan

  • Problem statement and target group

  • Institutional context

  • Co-creation process

Official deliverables

D2.2 Urban report - Barakaldo Barakaldo case study report D4.5 Barakaldo RPA Barakaldo WP3 policy brief (English) Barakaldo WP3 policy brief (Spanish)

Barakaldo Urban Story Our storymaps draw together insights on inequalities and policies affecting urban youth, across education, employment and housing, from the WP2 urban reports and data analyses.