Three Costa del Sol cities are leading in Spanish population growth

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Costa del Sol cities

PROVINCE OF MALAGA – The allure of the Costa del Sol, with its delightful climate, favourable economic development, and a wide range of services, many of which are international, makes this coast one of the most attractive areas in Spain to live in.

Of the five fastest-growing cities in Spain, three are located on this southern Spanish coast: Estepona, Marbella, and Benalmádena. According to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) until January 1, 2023, Estepona saw a population increase of 4.6%, from 73,698 to 77,068 inhabitants. This growth is only surpassed by Torrevieja, which saw an increase of 6.8%.


Mayor José María García Urbano of Estepona sees the population growth as a positive development. He emphasises that the city leads in Andalucia with the lowest unemployment rates and the highest job growth. “The city has pursued a model focused on economic and social dynamism,” he adds. “Our goal is sustainable growth so that residents can be proud of their city and enjoy a high quality of life.”

Marbella and Benalmádena

Marbella ranks fourth with a growth of 3.9%, resulting in an increase from 150,321 to 156,153 inhabitants. It is now the seventh most populous city in Andalucia, even ahead of provincial capitals such as Huelva, Cádiz, and Jaén. Benalmádena, in fifth place, saw its population rise from 73,549 to 76,318 inhabitants, an increase of 3.8% from the previous year.

New Data from Marbella

While the INE has updated its data until January 1, 2023, the municipality of Marbella has done so until the same date in 2024. According to the municipal register, the city now has 165,871 inhabitants, an increase of 9,576. Javier García, deputy mayor of the district of San Pedro Alcántara, emphasises the dynamism and constant demographic evolution of the city. “With 153 registered nationalities, our city is clearly cosmopolitan and global,” he says.

Cogesa Expats

Marbella’s diverse population

In Marbella, Spanish (112,013), British (5,486), Moroccan (5,177), Ukrainian (4,516), Colombian (3,712), and Russian (3,319) nationalities are the most common. This demographic movement is also reflected in the fact that the four citizen service centres of Marbella, San Pedro Alcántara, Nueva Andalucía, and Las Chapas, recorded a total of 123,992 actions, including registrations, deregistrations, and certificates.

Implications for growing Costa del Sol cities

The increase of 9,576 new inhabitants means not only an increase in services to be provided but also a larger financial contribution from other government agencies such as the Junta and the State. In general, the population in the Costa del Sol cities triples during peak seasons such as Easter and summer.

The municipality of Marbella expects an increase in income as a result of population growth, as new residents contribute to taxes and thus the improvement of services. The local budget for 2024 shows a surplus of nearly €11 million compared to 2023, partly attributed to the new residents and other taxes related to the “economic activity of the city.”

Also read: Foreigners take over the province of Malaga


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