A huge swathe of the interior of Spain is slowly dying as people migrate to cities and the coast, leaving only the elderly behind.

In 22 Spanish provinces, a third of the population is over aged 65. In the worst-affected regions, this figure rises to 41% (the national average is 16.7%).

A vast region just two hours' drive from Madrid is becoming Europe's largest desert in terms of population. The provinces of Soria, Guadalajara, Teruel and Cuenca have an average of 1.63 inhabitants for every square kilometre, compared with 1.8 in Lapland and three people for every square kilometre in Siberia.

Getty Images photographer David Ramos documented life in the villages around Molina de Aragon in the province of Guadalajara, Castile-La Mancha.

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Juan Romero, 11, plays alone in Selas. He is the only boy left in the village. Its school was shut down in 1974 and moved to Molina de AragonDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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Mari Angeles Moreno, 44, kisses her son Juan Romero, 11, as they wait for the school bus outside the village of Selas. He has to travel 68km to go to school in Molina de AragonDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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Mari Angeles Moreno, 44, and her son Juan Romero, 11, walk along a empty street in the village of SelasDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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The landscape near the village of Tordesilos in Castille-La ManchaDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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Maria Novela (85) and her husband Bartolome Romero (89), while Lucia Romero (98) watches, at their home in the village of SelasDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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Women play cards in the former school in the village of Anquela del DucadoDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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Felix Martinez, 75, prunes apple trees near the village of Rillo de GalloDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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Margarita, 64, poses for a portrait at her shop in the village of Anquela del Ducad. Margarita is closing her bar and store down – they have been open for more than 70 yearsDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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An old football goal is seen in the village of Herreria, near Molina de AragonDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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David Oter, 21, holds a deer skull as he poses for a portrait in Castilnuevo. Spain's economic crisis has forced many people to emigrate or look for new jobs. A former electrician, David has been working as a taxidermist since 2013David Ramos/Getty Images
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Martin Mendieta works on a stone sculpture near Molina de Aragon. The financial crisis forced him to find alternative employment making tombstonesDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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An abandoned house is seen in the village of Iruecha, near Molina de AragonDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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A shepherd's dog sits among sheep grazing near the village of Codes, Castile-La ManchaDavid Ramos/Getty Images
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A bus stop daubed with graffiti that it reads 'Futuro digno para los pueblos de Castilla' (Decent future for the villages of Castille) is seen near the village of LuzonDavid Ramos/Getty Images