13 Apr, 2021 @ 17:04
1 min read

Stats reveal expat boom in Spain as Brits rushed to meet Brexit deadline

BREXIT deadline forced unregistered UK expats in Spain to beat deportation fears by officially becoming residents
The exit of Britain from the European Union, the "Brexit"

BRITISH expats legalising their situation in Spain ahead of Brexit have helped the country to reach a record number of foreign residents.

As of December 31, 2020, there were over 5.8 million foreigners living in Spain.

The figure was boosted by a 6% rise in UK nationals getting residency ahead of a final Brexit deadline.

Official government statistics put the total of foreign residents at 5,800,468 which is 137,120 more than in 2019.

The number of registered UK nationals in Spain is logged at 381,448, a rise of 6% over the 2019 total.

Over 20,000 UK nationals got residencias/TIE cards ahead of the December 31 deadline, to officially increase the number of expats in Spain.

Spain’s overall foreign population growth would have been higher had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant it was the smallest overall rise since 2016.

Nevertheless, the country’s foreign residents figure has gone up by 19% over the last decade.

Breaking down the numbers, 61% of foreigners in Spain come from the EU or member countries of the European Free Trade Association like Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland.

UK residents are the third largest foreign group in Spain, with Romanians coming in top (1,079,726) and Moroccans in second spot (811,530).

Seven provinces account for 57% of the total number of foreigners, namely Alicante, the Balearic Islands, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Murcia, and Valencia.

From a percentage perspective, Alicante, Almeria, the Balearics, Girona, and Lleida have the highest foreign numbers out of their total population.

The average age of a foreign resident is 40 years, but in the case of UK nationals, many of who come to Spain to retire, the average age goes up to 54 years.


Alex Trelinski

Alex worked for 30 years for the BBC as a presenter, producer and manager. He covered a variety of areas specialising in sport, news and politics. After moving to the Costa Blanca over a decade ago, he edited a newspaper for 5 years and worked on local radio.

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