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Population

Puerta del Sol (Luana Fisher, Instituto Nacional de Tecnologías Educativas)

​The information contained in this tab was drawn up using data collated during the 2011 census. The census is the most extensive statistical exercise undertaken by the Spanish National Statistics Institute (Spanish acronym: INE) every ten years. It provides information on the people residing in Spain (gender, age, nationality, studies, employment situation, migration and mobility) and the size and characteristics of Spanish households (size, composition, couples and centres).

​Contents

The resident population in Spain

In recent years the resident population has unexpectedly begun to recover. At the beginning of the 1990s, demographers and other experts announced that the population showed a tendency to decline and that the figure of 40 million inhabitants would therefore not be reached in the short term. However, the massive influx of foreigners has overturned these projections and the resident population in Spain has not only broken through the 40 million threshold but has continued to rise steeply during this first decade of the 21st century.

Based on data from 1 January 2010, the registered population in Spain is over 46.9 million; the number of registered foreign nationals is 5.7 million, of which 2.3 million are European Union citizens.

Population by sex at 1 November 2011

Both sexes Total​
Total 46.815.916
Spanish nationals 41.563.443
Foreign nationals 5.252.473
Male
Total 23.104.303
Spanish nationals 20.372.386
Foreign nationals 2.731.917
Female
Total 23.711.613
Spanish nationals 21.191.057
Foreign nationals 2.520.556

Source: National Statistical Institute. Data drawn from the latest annual census published by the National Statistical Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, INE), available as at 31 December 2014

According to the municipal register, the total number of residents in Spain as at 1 January 2010 was 46,951,532 which represents an increase of 205,725 people on the figures for 1 January 2009. Of this total, 41,242,592 corresponded to Spanish nationals and 5,708,940 (or 12.2% of the total number of registered residents) were foreign nationals.

In 2009, the number of registered Spanish nationals experienced a net increase of 145,456 people (0.4%), while the number of foreign nationals grew by 60,269 (1.1%). Of the latter, those belonging to the EU-27 rose by 73,289 to a total of 2,346,505 residents, while the number not belonging to the EU fell by 13,020 people (to stand at 3,362,425).

Population by gender and age 

According to provisional data from 1 January 2010, 49.5% of registered residents are male and 50.6% are female. Among Spanish nationals, 49% are male and 51% are female. There are more women among Spanish nationals (51%), whereas there are more men among immigrants (52.5%).

By age, 15.6% of the population is under 16, 42.6% is between 16 and 44, and 41.8% is 45 or over.

Population at 1 November 2011

​Age Spanish nationals Foreign nationals
Under 16 6.704.120 788.761
16 to 44 15.980.355 3.227.314
45 to 64 11.042.777 956.239
Over 65 7.836.187 280.158

Source: National Statistical Institute.

By nationality, the data from the 16-44 age group should be highlighted: whereas registered Spanish nationals in this age group account for 39.9% of the total, this percentage rises to 62% in the case of registered foreigners.

The resident population by autonomous region 

The autonomous regions that experienced the highest population increases between 1 January 2009 and 1 January 2010 were Madrid (up by 58,567 people), Andalusia (50,920) and Catalonia (29,461).

On the other hand, population figures dropped in three autonomous regions: Castile and Leon (-7,806 people), the Principality of Asturias (-1,180 people) and Aragon (-54 people).

Total population by autonomous community. Change from 2001 to 2011

​Region 2011 Census 2001 Census Change (%)
Balears, Illes 1.100.503 841.669 30,8%
Canarias 2.082.655 1.694.477 22,9%
Melilla 81.323 66.411 22,5%
Murcia, Región de 1.462.128 1.197.646 22,1%
Comunidad Valenciana 5.009.931 4.162.776 20,4%
Castilla - La Mancha 2.106.331 1.760.516 19,6%
Cataluña 7.519.843 6.343.110 18,6%
Madrid, Comunidad de 6.421.874 5.423.384 18,4%
Ceuta 83.517 71.505 16,8%
Rioja, La 321.173 276.702 16,1%
Navarra, Comunidad Foral de 640.129 555.829 15,2%
Andalucía 8.371.270 7.357.558 13,8%
Aragón 1.344.509 1.204.215 11,7%
Cantabria 592.542 535.131 10,7%
País Vasco 2.185.393 2.082.587 4,9%
Extremadura 1.104.499 1.058.503 4,3%
Castilla y León 2.540.188 2.456.474 3,4%
Galicia 2.772.928 2.695.880 2,9%
Asturias, Principado de 1.075.183 1.062.998 1,1%
​TOTAL 46.815.916​ 40.847.371​ 14,6%​

Source: National Statistical Institute

In relative terms, the greatest population increases occurred in Melilla (3.5%) and Ceuta (2.4%), as well as in the Region of Murcia, the Autonomous Region of Madrid, the Autonomous Region of Navarre and the Balearic Islands (all by 0.9%).

The greatest population drop in relative terms took place in Castile and Leon (-0.3%).

Distribution of the foreign population by autonomous region 

The proportion of foreign citizens is 12.2% of the total resident population in Spain, according to data from the municipal registers at 1 January 2010.

Foreign population by autonomous region​

​Region Population - Census 2011 Population - Census 2001 Absolute change Relative change % Foreign nationals - as a proportion to total population % Foreign nationals - as a proportion  to total foreign nationals
Castilla-La Mancha 215.469 40.668 174.801 429,8% 10,2% 4,1%
País Vasco 141.947 31.168 110.779 355,4% 6,5% 2,7%
Castilla y León 163.260 37.674 125.586 333,3% 6,4% 3,1%
Cantabria 37.457 8.661 28.796 332,5% 6,3% 0,7%
Aragón 164.770 38.314 126.456 330,1% 12,3% 3,1%
Andalucía 658.139 178.130 480.009 269,5% 7,9% 12,5%
Cataluña 1.128.445 310.307 818.138 263,7% 15,0% 21,5%
Asturias, Principado de 47.711 13.254 34.457 260,0% 4,4% 0,9%
Comunidad Valenciana 756.772 217.673 539.099 247,7% 15,1% 14,4%
Extremadura 38.698 11.271 27.427 243,3% 3,5% 0,7%
Rioja, La 44.121 12.865 31.256 243,0% 13,7% 0,8%
Murcia, Región de 226.343 69.556 156.787 225,4% 15,5% 4,3%
Balears, Illes 222.120 68.825 153.295 222,7% 20,2% 4,2%
Galicia 103.685 35.152 68.533 195,0% 3,7% 2,0%
Canarias 276.524 97.950 178.574 182,3% 13,3% 5,3%
Navarra, Comunidad Foral de 65.323 24.274 41.049 169,1% 10,2% 1,2%
Madrid, Comunidad de 945.252 366.096 579.156 158,2% 14,7% 18,0%
Ceuta 5.417 3.246 2.171 66,9% 6,5% 0,1%
Melilla 11.021 6.929 4.092 59,1% 13,6% 0,2%
​TOTAL ​5.252.473 1.572.013​ 3.680.460​ ​234,1% ​11,2% 100,0%​

Source: National Statistical Institute

The regions with the highest proportion of foreign nationals are the Balearic Islands (21.9%), Valencia (17.3%) and Madrid (16.6%). By contrast, those with the lowest proportion of foreign nationals are Extremadura (3.5%), Galicia (3.9%) and Asturias (4.5%).

In absolute terms, the regions that experienced the greatest increases of foreign nationals in 2009 were Andalusia (23,195), Madrid (7,489) and the Basque Country (6,364). On the other hand, the number of foreign residents fell in the Region of Valencia (-4,718), La Rioja (-589), Aragon (-123) and Castile and Leon (-44).

In relative terms, the largest foreign population increases occurred in Melilla (16.8%), Ceuta (12.5%) and the Basque Country (4.8%), while the largest decreases took place in La Rioja (-1.3%) and the Region of Valencia (-0.5%).

Distribution of the foreign population by nationality

The number of foreign residents in Spain belonging to the EU-27 is 2,346,515. Of these, the largest group is made up of Rumanian citizens (829,715), followed by citizens from the United Kingdom (387,226) and Germany (195,579).

Among non-EU foreign nationals, Moroccan citizens form the largest group (746,715), followed by Ecuadoreans (395,069) and Colombians (289,296).

Población extranjera por países (Comparativa 2001-2011)

Nationality Population - Census 2011 Population - Census 2001 Absolute increase Relative increaseivo (%)
TOTAL 5.252.473 1.572.013 3.680.460 234,1%
Rumanía 798.104 57.533 740.571 1.287,2%
Marruecos 773.966 247.941 526.025 212,2%
Reino Unido 312.098 94.862 217.236 229,0%
Bolivia 183.626 11.311 172.315 1.523,4%
China 171.128 27.595 143.533 520,1%
Italia 177.520 36.815 140.705 382,2%
Bulgaria 150.878 26.391 124.487 471,7%
Ecuador 316.756 216.474 100.282 46,3%
Colombia 250.087 160.104 89.983 56,2%
Perú 124.041 38.531 85.510 221,9%
Portugal 121.741 40.863 80.878 197,9%
Paraguay 77.205 1.113 76.092 6.836,7%
Alemania 153.245 78.020 75.225 96,4%
Brasil 87.973 18.305 69.668 380,6%
Ucrania 84.136 22.197 61.939 279,0%
Rep. Dominicana 91.353 31.582 59.771 189,3%
Polonia 75.484 16.348 59.136 361,7%
Pakistán 69.163 10.129 59.034 582,8%
Argentina 105.219 47.661 57.558 120,8%
Francia 100.798 46.894 53.904 114,9%
Resto de países 1.027.952 341.344 686.608 201,1%

Source: National Statistical Institute

In 2009, the number of Rumanian citizens experienced the largest increase, rising by 30,823 people. Further significant growth occurred in the numbers of citizens from Morocco (28,705), the United Kingdom (11,523) and China (9,128). The largest decreases in terms of nationality were recorded by Ecuadorean citizens (26,357 fewer), Bolivians (20,079 fewer) and Argentineans (11,713 fewer).

Among the nationalities with the largest number of registered residents, the greatest relative increases correspond to citizens from Senegal (8.5%), China (6.2%) and Italy (5%).

By country groups, citizens from the EU-27 form the largest collective and represent 41.1% of the total foreign population. They are followed by citizens from South America, who account for 26.6% of all foreign nationals.

Población extranjera por sexo y grupos de países

​Nacionalidad Both sexes Male Female
Spanish 41.563.443 20.372.386 21.191.057
Foreign 5.252.473 2.731.917 2.520.556
Foreign, EU member state 2.084.916 1.092.569 992.346
Foreign, non-EU member state 220.904 95.944 124.959
Foreign, African country 1.063.194 660.910 402.285
Foreign, North American country 52.377 23.668 28.709
Foreign, South American, Central or Caribbean country 1.479.852 653.549 826.303
Foreign, Asian country 348.284 203.603 144.680
Foreign, Australasian and stateless persons 2.946 1.674 1.273
​TOTAL 46.815.916​ 23.104.303​ 23.711.613​

Source: National Statistical Institute

As regards the distribution of the foreign population by gender, the proportion of women is higher among Latin American nationalities. However, there are more men among most of the African and Asian nationalities.

 

Population projections

A knowledge of the future population, broken down at least by gender and age, is clearly vital for rational decision-making in a number of fields, including education (at the various stages), health (and medical specialties corresponding to the age of individuals), pensions, etc. This knowledge is also necessary for planning the consumption of all kinds of goods and services.

Population censuses, which are conducted every ten years, provide insufficient information about the population in the intervening periods. However, they do provide a starting point for decisions of the abovementioned nature in that they shed light on the population of a country and its regions, in keeping with a series of variables, at a given point in time. The breakdowns by gender and age are usually taken as the starting point for calculating the future population with the same breakdown information.

Life expectancy in Spain

Years At birth At age 65
Both sexes Male Female Both sexes Male Female
1991 77,1 73,5 80,7 17,6 15,6 19,2
1995 78,1 74,5 81,7 18,2 16,1 20,0
2000 79,3 75,9 82,7 18,8 16,7 20,6
2001 79,7 76,3 83,1 19,0 16,9 20,8
2002 79,8 76,4 83,1 19,0 16,9 20,9
2003 79,7 76,4 83,0 18,9 16,8 20,8
2004 80,3 77,0 83,6 19,4 17,3 21,3
2005 80,3 77,0 83,5 19,3 17,2 21,1
2006 80,9 77,7 84,2 19,9 17,8 21,7
2007 80,9 77,8 84,1 19,8 17,7 21,7
2008 81,2 78,2 84,3 20,0 18,0 21,8
2009 81,6 78,5 84,6 20,2 18,1 22,0
2010 82,0 78,9 84,9 20,4 18,3 22,3
2011​ 82,1 79,2 85,0 20,5 18,5 22,4
​2012 ​82,2 ​79,3 ​​​85,1​ 20,5​ ​18,5 ​22,4
2013​ ​82,7 ​79,9 ​85,5 ​21,0 ​18,9 ​22,8
2014​ 82,9​ ​80,1 ​85,6 ​21,1 ​19,0 ​22,9
2015 82,7 79,9 85,4 20,8 18,8 22,19​

Source: National Statistical Institute

Bearing in mind that the population at a given point in time is the result of an evolution experienced in the past by its various components (mortality rate, fertility rate and migrations into and out of the country), a census can be used to predict the future population based on the hypothetical evolution of the same three components.

As a result of the sharp increase in the immigration figures for Spain, the projections calculated on the basis of the Population Census of 1991 quickly became outdated and had to be reviewed.

The population breakdowns by gender and age that resulted from the 2001 Census provided the population base or starting point for new projections.

However, any consideration about the future population of Spain must take into account the fact that the broad variety of factors influencing the evolution of immigration figures implies a significant degree of uncertainty about future arrivals and departures. This means that the projections are actually possible scenarios, i.e. the results obtained illustrate the consequences of the hypotheses on which they are based on the growth and distribution by age of the population.

Hence, as a first scenario, the net influx of immigrants into Spain is predicted to continue its recent trend until 2010, after which it is expected to level off. The total number of immigrants entering Spain during the period 2007-2059 is expected to rise to 14.6 million. 

The most outstanding characteristic in the evolution of the population in Spain is its progressive ageing. This process is primarily due to the sharp and sustained decline in the fertility rate, while increased life expectancy is a second influential factor. Although the massive influx of foreign nationals can slow this process down, it cannot stop it.

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