23 Apr, 2013 @ 15:22
1 min read

Spain’s population falls as foreigners flee eurozone crisis

Spain population

THE population of Spain has shrunk for the first time on record, with immigrants leaving the country to escape the economic crisis.

Figures from the National Statistics Institute show the number of residents dropped by almost 206,000 to 47.1 million last year – a decline entirely accounted for by foreigners.

The biggest fall in registered immigrants was among South Americans, especially Ecuadoreans and Colombians.

With youth unemployment now more than 50%, many Spaniards are also contributing to this mass exodus by leaving the country to seek work overseas.

The population of native Spaniards grew by 10,000 in 2012, a smaller increase than in recent years and one which only minimally offset the fall in registered foreigners.


  1. So much for all the commentators saying Spain is such an attraction. During the period in question, some 14,799 British citizens left Spain, a big fall of some 3.7 percent.

  2. Obviously the Spanish National Statistics office is massaging the figures because I live in Malta and there has been a huge influx of Spanish here so it isn’t just the immigrants fleeing Spain!
    They used to say the British didn’t integrate into the Spanish way of life, well the Spanish all stick together when abroad too.

  3. According to the Justice Minister, since December 2011, there were 280,000 foreigners who didn’t leave Spain, but nevertheless became part of the drop in the foreign numbers here… it’s because they obtained Spanish nationality!

  4. To have a none EU visitor, lecturer at prominent UK university, we had to pay 76€ for invitation letter, then she was charged 100+ for a visa, which once given fell short of one day of her 3 week stay…which meant losing her flight which meant another 200€ loss!!
    people are abused so they get a bad taste of Spain in such ways.

    Myself who invited her have lost a court case when I had to be evacuated 2 years when the illegal building of a neighbour collapsed into my home! Also have been waiting 10 years for closing another case where illegally my gate was stolen and a road cut through my land!!
    What is left to say about a land one loves so much but is so abused by it’s judicial, and governing system?

  5. For some Spain still is an attraction it depends on what you come here for, obviously if you are coming purely for finding employment then you have not done your homework. Not just Spain but the global economy is in a tail spin (obviously some countries much more than others). It is going to be a long road to recovery but I have faith that things will recover. So I guess my question for the constant Spain bashers on this site.. “Where is the perfect nothing ever bad happens, we are so much more a superior place, you call home?”.

  6. Christine: Could be much of the “bashing” is rooted in disappointment. The wonderful place you fell in love with, turns out to be a dirty two-timer. Your trust is betrayed. The marvellous sun can also burn. There IS such a thing as winter. The “laid-back lifestyle” means the plumber never turns up. The law-makers laws are for their own use. Contempt for foreigners is becoming more widespread. Many people found a marvellous land, that turned and bit them on the bum. A great shame indeed….

  7. Oh my freaking God! Stefanjo’s glass isn’t even 1000th empty. If I had half the brain of a doltish shrew I wouldn’t be thinking like that. As for the UK, The rain is wet, there most certainly IS a winter(year), apprentices are all in McDonalds, laws are laughed at, contempt for foreigners is at an all time high (with some violent racist towns – go out in Burnley, Wakefield etc on a weekend to see, and see how far RIGHT the country is going), it’s a green and pleasant land (cos it p***es down most of the year), but it’s not a shame at all, it’s just ‘back home’. And what a loggerhead sitting the Spain’s marvelous sun until you burn (without suncream on?). I think it’s mainly tourists that do that on the morning before they have to go back to Grey Britain. Stupefying.

  8. Christine, I couldn’t agree more. It will recover like it has done in the past. However, a lot of people came over here thinking they could open a bar and get rich quick. It doesn’t work like that. I’m a hairdresser and although my work far surpasses the skills taught in Spanish establishments, there is very little work around that pays worth a damn. Fortunately I’m a good budgeter and my partner earns enough to see us get by, but I’m also more than happy to work pretty much any job as and when it comes along, from bar work and cleaning to clerical and book keeping. A lot of the Spain bashers I reckon are the groups that came over to get rich quick, but were so tunnel visioned in thier goal that they couldn’t see what was going on around them.

  9. As said on here, if you need to earn a living, let alone build up an income for retirement in Spain then it is almost impossible. Maybe only 1% would actually be able to do this, especially with no language skills. But, even when you can survive or if you have a retirement income, if you take away the weather there is not a lot going for the place. Maybe if you like drinking and smoking a lot and spending many hours in bars you would also like it. If you are retired and the sun is the most important thing in your life then you will like Spain. If Spain could sort out the corruption then it would be a good place to live in my opinion. Every time you want to do something there is a barrier. Administration is difficult. I will give you an example, I had an NIE number issued in Alicante province. I purchased a new car in Almeria province but because my NIE number was on a piece of paper that had Alicante on it I had to go to Almeria to obtain what I thought would be another NIE number before the car could be handed over. Anyway, a 140 mile drive later, queue up and I was given the same NIE number on a different piece of paper that had Almeria on it. That sort of stuff goes on all the time. So backward. In the UK, your post arrives, there is fibre optic broadband, there is work and money, things work well and if you have a hobby it is easy to actually do it here. Maybe golf would be easier in Spain. Even going to Spain for a holiday is wearing off a bit but I feel obliged to go to make sure the buildings are still there. Everything is too difficult in Spain.

  10. It’s definitely complicated in Spain to sort out most logistics, but these whinging Brit imps on here just don’t GET Spain. orrible the lot of you! Glad the uk is the place to be then.. no unemployment?, no benefits trouble? (will get worse from today), no feeling you have to drink pints of lager without food and a break in the day?, no rain most of the year?.. no disrespectful rude youth?… baaaaahhh!!

    Good luck if you’re lucky enough to manage to survive here. Must go out later and avoid loud, annoying, mainly COCKNEY accents, whinging on! IMPS!!

  11. I found Mr Abusing’s email quite a hard read, not easy to understand. I think it is Roger again. I have never claimed benefits so I would not know about that, but there are many people knocking out a dozen kids here to get Directors wages. I still have around 13 to 20 years before I retire so a lot of things can change in that time but having lived in Spain I am not sure if I will live there again full time. Where I live in the UK I don’t have a problem with crime or kids as I don’t live in a ghetto so my experience in the UK is not a bad one, it is a good experience and I don’t drink too much as I have work to do and I did not really get your point here about drink. The only thing that I have considered is that I could be 50% self-sufficient in Spain with the land I have at one place and it has free irrigation water. Have a few chickens, some for eggs, some to eat… I have not reached that stage yet though but it has crossed my mind. It would be an easy way to quit the rat race at a younger age. I could have a few solar panels, maybe a wind turbine. The place has all the fruit trees, olive and almond trees required. Maybe Spain will have joined the modern world in another 10 years and I will change my mind.

  12. The simple Spanish mentality I don’t see changing any time soon, reap. Not even in my lifetime or my children’s lifetime. The Spanish seem to much prefer being away from the stresses of modern life, and in some ways I really don’t blame them. They will eventually get to where the rest of the modern world is, but the modern world will have evolved further. A bit like Germany and its music tastes, while they’re loving Bonnie Tyler, the rest of the world has moved on to Will.i.am and David Guetta.

  13. You are probably right there style! Even if they could move along a little it would be good. Just a simple move such as taking away some of the powers of the local Mayors and their cronies would help. The local population are so used to bowing down to these people. The corruption is holding the country back. Although the Mayors benefit by a few thousand or more when they approve a building there are another 20 who do not want to pay the corruption money / or use the Mayors building Company etc so most don’t bother. The local population suffers because of this. In addition to this they are knocking peoples houses down so why would you invest there. Goldman Sachs stated this week that property in Spain is overvalued by 10% at the moment. I wish Spain could turn it around otherwise there will be civil unrest soon. See how many people leave then.

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