Just 46 people live permanently in the remote Spanish village of Yernes y Tameza. As you might expect, the streets aren’t bustling – but especially not with children playing. Of the village’s 135 registered inhabitants (which includes those who visit occasionally), two-thirds are older than 50 and only 5% are younger than 20.
As birth rates fall across the EU, few places are feeling the sting of population decline like these rural enclaves. The mountainous rural area where Yernes y Tameza is located has the lowest birth rate in Spain, which has the second-lowest birth rate in the EU. And young people who are born in these villages often don’t stay, seeking out better opportunities in cities.
“There’s only elderly people left, and youth… almost zero,” says one resident of Yernes y Tameza. “Nature is eating us up.”