Castellón de la Plana, capital of the equally named province, lies in the north of the Community of Valencia, a few kilometres off the coast to which it has access via the port of Grao. The municipality disposes of an important agricultural sector (9.500 ha, oranges being the principal crop), but there is also a significant industrial sector with ceramic production and petrol refinery as principal activities.
Even though in Castellón there are just 181.439 habitants (2009), its metropolitan area incorporates more than 380.000 people, which makes it the fifth largest city of the Community of Valencia. This community, together with Madrid and Catalonia, was one of the main receivers of the last migration waves to Spain, which can be noted in the demographic data of Castellón. In 2011, 21 % of its population (38.471) was of foreign origin, the largest migrant collectives being Rumanians (63 %), followed by Moroccans (6.4 %) and Colombians (4.7 %).
It is remarkable that without immigration, the number of inhabitants would have been decreasing in the last years due to declining stock of local natives. Within the recent years the population reduced to 174.364, of which 17.6 % (30.688) are foreigners. Immigration has lowered the average age of the city as well.
The city council of Castellón published the first Immigration and Social Coexistence plan in 2006 in order to respond to the necessities to welcome recently arrived migrants as well as to adequate cultural diversity management. In 2012, the second plan, “Intercultural City Castellón”, was produced with the objective to advance in the reception of the recently arrived collectives, a feature that emerged within the parameters of the first plan. It prioritises integral actions that foster integration of culturally diverse persons and develops measures that promote coexistence. The plan establishes forms of coordination between different departments and public and private entities, with the intention to achieve real interaction and coexistence between different cultures. In this sense, the AMICS (Agency of Mediation for Integration and Social Coexistence) organization, created by city council, plays an important role. Its intention is to facilitate the cooperation between national, regional and local institutions sharing a common objective.
Castellón de la Plana: Results of the Intercultural Cities Index