The city of Parla is situated in the south of the Community of Madrid, with its city centre within 21 kilometres of distance from the capital.
The municipal area covers 23.43 km2 and a population density of 5.311 inhabitants per km2. In 1900, Parla only had 1.237 inhabitants, but in the end of the 60s there was a large demographic explosion due to internal immigration from rural to urban areas. The emigrants were mostly from Extremadura, Andalucía, Castilla La Mancha and Castilla y León and were foremost looking for employment and affordable housing. In the beginning of the 80s, Parla counted about 50.000 residents, which means that the population was 26 times that of 1960. Since 2000, the city experiences a second great population development, increasing to currently 128.871 inhabitants (Yearly Statistics of the Parla City Council, January 2014) due to new urban growth and external immigration from different origin countries. The economic activity of Parla is based on trade, hotel business and services.
According to the Municipal Population Register of January the 1st, 25 % of the registered population came from a foreign country, forming a total 115 countries of origin. Among those, 28 % come from the European Union, 24 % from South America, 19 % from Mediterranean Africa, 12 % from Asia, 10 % from the rest of Africa, 4 % from Central America and the Caribbean and 3 % from non-communitarian Europe. The 10 principal ethnic groups of the city are: Morocco 19%, Rumania 18%, Ecuador 11%, China 11%, Colombia 4%, Nigeria 4%, Colombia 4%, Poland 4%, Peru 4% and Bulgaria 3%, representing 82 % of the foreign stock. 72 % of this population are less than 40 years old, with an age average of 31 years.
The local public policies for intercultural coexistence in the municipality of Parla have a long history (1997-now), with distinct labels: “Program for Intercultural Coexistence: Diversity enriches us” 81997-2002), “Program for Knowledge Creation on Diversity Management in the Municipal Area” (2006-2008), “First Municipal Plan for Citizen Integration” (2010-2012), “Program: Parla Intercultural City” (2012-2015) and the program of transversal actions for social inclusion “Parla Acts” (2013-2015). The last one includes transversality from a generated and intercultural perspective in the areas of living, education, alimentation, employment, health, democracy and transparency. Parla is a reference in terms of the development of innovative policies for citizen integration.