SPAIN’S population swelled by an impressive half a million people in the last year – a boom that was driven almost entirely by foreigners.

According to the latest Continuous Population Survey (ECP), the country’s population surged by 537,611 individuals between July 2022 and July 2023.

But Spanish nationals accounted for a paltry 3% (13,524) of the growth. 

The foreign-born population in Spain has now reached 6.34 million, making up 13% of the country’s 47.8 million inhabitants.

But Spanish citizens still dominate, totaling over 42 million people, representing 86.9 % of Spain’s population.

Over the past year, the foreign national population experienced growth in all provinces and autonomous cities in Spain.

Particularly significant increases were seen in the northern (and more temperate) regions of A Coruña (16.7%), Lugo (15.44%), and Asturias (15.11%).

The ECP survey reveals that the foreign-born population was the driving force behind population growth in 24 of the 32 provinces, where the Spanish-born population saw a decline. 

Foreign nationals played a particularly prominent role in demographic growth, especially in provinces like Valencia, where they accounted for 98.1% of the total increase, Barcelona at 96.84%, Seville with 96.48%, and Lleida at 96%.

As of July 2023, the provinces with the highest percentage of foreign nationals in their population included Alicante (22.9%), Almeria (22.4%), and Girona (21.8%). 

Conversely, the provinces with the lowest percentage of foreign nationals in their population were Jaén (3.4%), Córdoba (3.5%), and Badajoz (3.8%).

Additionally, INE data highlights that Spain has been grappling with negative natural growth, with deaths surpassing births since 2017. 

The monthly number of births for the first half of 2023 reached its lowest point in the past eight years, totaling 155,629 births, marking a 2.5% decrease compared to the previous year.

Moreover, Spain’s population became the sixth oldest in the European Union in 2022, with an average age of 45.1 years. 

Over the last decade, Spain has witnessed a significant ageing process, with the average age rising by 4.3 years, second only to Portugal within the European Union, as stated by the European Office for Statistics, Eurostat.

However, population projections from INE still indicate that Spain is anticipated to experience a net population increase of approximately 5.6 million by 2036 – due to migration, of course.


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