Spain has never had so many foreign residents before

by Lorraine Williamson
foreign residents

Spain set a record on December 31, 2021: Never before in Spain’s history did the country have so many foreign residents. Over the past 5 years, the number of foreigners in Spain has increased by 19%, with 3.6% in 2021. 

The number of residents in Spain, originally from abroad exceeded 6 million for the first time in history on December 31, 2021. This is apparent from figures from the Ministry of Integration, Social Services, and Migration. 

Huge growth of foreign residents in Spain 

The Ministry registered 6,007,553 foreign residents in Spain at the end of last year. It relates to people who live in Spain but come from other countries. Furthermore, this concerns more than 2.3 million people from outside the EU, almost 3.5 million from other European countries, migrants, and Britons who continued to live in Spain after Brexit. 

Over the past five years, the foreign population in Spain has increased by 19%. Just in the past year, there was a growth of 3.6%. The growth of 2021 was mainly due to the increase in the number of migrants who received a residence permit. 

What does foreign population in Spain look like? 

The Ministry concluded the following from the available data; This shows that 52% of foreign residents in Spain are male and that the average age of this group is 40 years. The Romanian community predominates with 1,093,231 residents who have settled in Spain. The Romanians are followed by the Moroccans (829,992), British (407,628), Italians (377,143), and Chinese (231,019). 

The number of people in Spain who come from Morocco, the United Kingdom, China, and Colombia has increased dramatically in recent years. Among EU citizens, the percentage of Italy (+7%) and French (+5%) has increased significantly in the past year. Most foreign residents in Spain live in the provinces of Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Alicante, Malaga, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and Murcia. 

Unknown growth of Ukrainian citizens in Spain 

As of December 31, 2021, nearly 96,000 Ukrainian people were living in Spain. This number has been growing rapidly since the Russian invasion. Consequently, it is not yet possible to say how many of the now more than 110,000 war refugees from Ukraine will remain in Spain. 

Can all foreigners always stay in Spain? 

Not all foreign residents in Spain are allowed to live in Spain indefinitely. This does apply to 77% of this group; they have a permanent residence permit. 23% of foreign residents have received a temporary residence permit for work, family reunification, or other reasons. 

Also read: Málaga is the second-best city in the world for expats to live

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