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Migration is driving Spain’s population, which is reaching a new high of 47,432,805 inhabitants

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The number of immigrants is recovering after the sharp drop in 2020 and the number of emigrants is growing, reaching the highest level since 2014


A positive migratory balance of 148,677 people has boosted the population growth of Spain, which has reached a new peak in the series of population figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) with 47,432,805 inhabitants on January 1, 2022, according to preliminary data Population and migration statistics data for 2021, published by INE.

For example, the resident population in Spain increased by 34,110 during 2021 and stood at 47,432,805 on January 1, 2022, reaching a new high after six consecutive years of growth since the beginning of the series.

Specifically, the population was 46,818,216 in January 2012, to decrease in January 2013 with 46,727,890 and to decrease further in January 2014 (46,512,199), January 2015 (46,449,565) and January 2016 (46,440,099). The increase started in January 2017 (46,527,039), continued in 2018 (46,658,447), and continued in 2019 (46,937,060), 2020 (47,332,614) and 2021 (47,398,695).

In relative terms, the annual population growth rate was 0.07% in 2021 compared to 0.14% in 2020. The population increase in 2021 was offset by a negative natural balance of 113,023 people (336,247 births versus 449,270 deaths) and a positive net migration of 148,677 people (es were 530,401 immigrations from abroad and 381,724 emigrations abroad).

In this way, Spain’s population growth was due to the increase in people of foreign nationality as those of Spanish nationality decreased. The number of foreigners thus rose by 49,612 in 2021 to a total of 5,417,883 as of January 1, 2022. This increase resulted largely from a positive net migration of 153,094 people.

On the contrary, the population of Spanish nationality was reduced by 15,502 people. This evolution was the result of a negative natural balance (of 153,910 people) and a negative migratory balance (4,417 people) that were not offset by the acquisition of Spanish nationality (affecting 144,012 people).

For Spanish-born Spaniards, this population figure decreased by 131,080 people over the course of 2021.

Among the main foreign nationalities, the largest increases were in the Italian population (19,093 more), Colombian (18,203) and Venezuelan (11,481), while the largest decreases were those of Romania (-25,146), Ecuador (-5,755) and China match (-4,516).

The foreign population living in Spain is mainly from Morocco (776,223), followed by Romania (632,859), the United Kingdom (316,529), Colombia (315,885), Italy (298,817) and Venezuela (220,461).

In relative terms, the largest population increases in 2021 were among residents with nationals of Italy (6.8%), Colombia (6.1%) and Peru (5.6%), while the largest decreases were among nationals of Ecuador (- 4.5%) and Romania (-3.8%) and Bulgaria (-3.1%).


On the other hand, Spain’s balance of migration abroad in 2021 was positive with 148,677 people. Although it has been rising for six years, this is the lowest reading since 2016. Both immigration and emigration have increased compared to 2020, but emigration has done so at a greater rate, resulting in a lower net migration year-on-year.

In total, 530,401 people from abroad established their residence in Spain, 13.4% more than in 2020. In turn, 381,724 people left Spain for abroad (53.6% less than in the previous year).

Of the immigrants from abroad, 457,701 had foreign nationality and 72,700 Spanish nationality. Regarding emigration, 304,607 emigrations were made by foreigners and 77,117 by Spaniards. Of the latter, 48,215 were born in Spain.

The net migration of the population with foreign citizenship was 153,094 people in 2021, the result of immigration of 457,701 people and emigration of 304,607 people. The number of immigrants recovered after falling sharply in 2020.

For their part, the number of emigrants increased significantly compared to the previous year, reaching the highest level since 2014. The main nationalities of foreign immigrants were Moroccans (with 59,181 arrivals in Spain), Colombians (39,880) and Italians (29,446). For their part, the most numerous nationalities of emigrants were Romanians (44,190 emigrants), Moroccans (31,022) and British (19,808). These three also made up the majority of the resident foreign population.

The migration balance of Spaniards abroad was negative in 2021 for the second year in a row. Specifically, there were 4,417 net departures abroad. This balance results from the immigration from abroad of 72,700 people and the emigration abroad of 77,117.

The immigration of Spaniards is not always return migration, but also non-Spanish-born people with Spanish nationality (43,040 of the 72,700 immigrants were born outside Spain). The population of Spanish nationality arriving in Spain in 2021 was mainly from Argentina (6,665 people), the United Kingdom (6,478) and Venezuela (5,068).

For their part, the largest recipients of Spanish emigrants were the United Kingdom (21,249 people), France (9,719) and Germany (6,239). Of the 381,724 people who left the country in 2021, 13.9% had always lived in Spain. The remainder (86.1%) had immigrated at an earlier point in time.

By nationality, 55.3% of Spaniards who emigrated in 2021 had always resided in Spain, compared to 3.5% of foreigners. It can be observed that the years of immigration are concentrated in the two and three years before departure or, viewed differently, more emigration has been recorded among immigrants in recent years. This may be due to the failure of their migration project, while those who arrived in previous years may have already achieved some stability.

Source europapress.es

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