Nestled in the heart of the Axarquía in the foothills of La Maroma, the village of Salares has become the smallest in Malaga province in terms of population, having overtaken Atajate, which had held the title for several decades.
This is according to the latest report published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), with data corresponding to 1 January 2021. Salares has maintained the 173 inhabitants it had 12 months earlier, while Atajate has gained ten residents, bringing its population up to 179. "It has been surprising, because we have around 15 per cent more residents registered since the pandemic arrived," says the mayor of Salares, Pablo Crespillo.
However, the mayor acknowledges that the data published a few days ago actually refers to the year 2020, "when it is true that we practically maintained the population", he remarked. Even so, he expected the population to grow by at least five per cent.
"I tell all those who are coming here to take it easy and enjoy the scenery, because the road is narrow and winding, we are half an hour from the motorway, from the Algarrobo exit." Crespillo said, explaining that the biggest problem the village faces is the road and communications.
Among the measures that have been put in place by the town hall to encourage the arrival of new residents and fight against depopulation is the creation of a space to facilitate teleworking in the premises of the old town hall, as reported by this newspaper in November.
With annual festivals unable to go ahead in 2020 and 2021, the money that had been earmarked for the events has been used instead to give residents a Christmas hamper. In 2020 the hamper included a shoulder of ham and two bottles of wine and in 2021 it included cold meats and two bottles of wine. "It is a way of giving residents a good festive season and recognising the effort they have been making for almost two years with the pandemic," says the mayor. Since March 2020, Salares has registered twelve cases of Covid-19, with one death.