Statistics: the figures behind the facts

Spain in Figures

The National Statistics Institute publishes many figures to keep us in touch with the reality of Spain. An overview can be seen in their annual report. Here is the latest edition in pdf format.

Population and migration

In the 2001 census (as reported by the official Instituto Nacional de Estadística/INE) the total number of inhabitants was: 40,847,371
Subsequently, between 2001 and 2008 the influence of immigration has meant a significant growth, with much lower gains since the start of the recession. By 1st January 2012 the population registered (provisional data) at town halls was 47,212,990 In January 2009 the population was 46,745,807; (January 2008: 46,063,511; January 2007: 45,116,894; 2006: 44,708,964, 2005: 44,108,530). (INE) Over 2007 the number of Spaniards grew by just 0.4%, while that of foreigners rose 15%, of whom over half were EU citizens mainly Romanians, but also expats heading for the Costas (this latter trend being reversed since the downturn). Many foreign born people are now claiming Spanish citizenship, while the total of Spanish born Spaniards is stationary. 39.8 million Spaniards were born in Spain.
The total foreign population is up to 5,220,577, in addition to whom we might add the half a million Spaniards born in Latin America, many of whom have been nationalised over the past few years. Figures show that the total of Romanians has grown 38% since accession to the EU to reach over 700,000, while Maroccans are now almost 650,000. The number of Ecuadorians (3rd nationality) has fallen. 4th nationality are the 350.000 registered British. One third of the almost 300,000 Argentine born residents are now Spanish nationals.
(Earlier foreigner figures are 2007: 4,482,568, or 9.9% - from 9.3% in 2006 or 8.46% in 2005). During 2006 the population grew by 408,000, of whom Spaniards were just 70,000. But foreign arrivals are now slowing. In 2004 the population increased by 900,000 of whom 696,000 were foreigners. New requirements for foreigners to re-register already reduced the rise in figures for 2005.

In an ageing (national) population the increase in the number of immigrants from 353,307 in 1991 to 1,572,017 in 2001 lowered the average age considerably, despite the influx of a considerable number of northern European pensioners to the coastal regions.

A sign of the ageing of the population is that the number of students starting at Spanish universities is 100,000 less than ten years ago. The figure for those taking the entrance exam has fallen from 327,220 to 222,594, although a slightly higher number passed (75 to 81%).

The registered immigrant population, after mushrooming over the past 8 years, is now growing more slowly. In 2000 only 2.3% were immigrants. In 2003 there were 1.6 Million, up 24% on a year earlier, while the 2004 figure was 2.7 million. By 1st January 2006 it had topped 4 million, 9.3% and in 2007 it reached 9.9% of the population, or 4,482,568. In 2008 it is 5,220,577, having well and truly broken the ten percent barrier, to become 11.3%. By regions, the Balearics has the highest proportion, with over 20%, followed by Valencia with almost 17%. Both of these regions have a large number of north European residents, many of whom are pensioners. But the seasonal tourist industry and agriculture in Valencia also create many job opportunities for migrant workers. By contrast, Asturias, Galicia and Extremadura have under 4%. In 2006 Catalonia had 22% of the total number of immigrants, while the province of Alicante (where 121,000 Britons are registered (08) and another 200,000 may live according to embassy sources), the registered percentage including African and Latin hotel, building and agricultural workers was 20% of the population. 2,739,000 residence permits were issued during 2006.
Part of the growth is due to 'regularisation' of previously illegally resident people, but more are still arriving. The largest 'pensioner population' from North-western Europe is the British (of course also including those under 60), with 351.919 (up from 227,000 in 2004). Just to confuse matters, many Argentinians carry Italian passports, while others have now gained Spanish nationality!
The proportion of children born to foreign mothers grew from 3.26% in 1996 to 10.4% in 2002. In 2005 the percentage of babies to 2 foreign parents was 6.14% while those born to one foreign parent were 11.51, making a total of 17.65% born into families with at least one foreign parent (1996 figure 4.54). This shows the impact of mixed marriages on society over the decade, 10.76% of marriages in 2005.
A report by the Savings Banks believes the 2010 immigrant proportion may be 15% and by 2015 this may well be 27%. In 2003 the economic migrants sent home 2.3 billion Euros. More about the immigrant population.

Family matters

15% of pregnancies, or about 80,000 ended in termination (abortion) in 2003.

Divorce is mushrooming. In the first quarter of 2007, 40.579 couples took advantage of the new express divorce laws. The new law came into effect late 2005. By comparison, 72,848 couples divorced in the year 2005, while there were also 64,028 separations and 168 annulments recorded. The divorce figure had doubled over a decade, while the other two figures remained more or less constant. Now it has more than doubled in a quarter of the time. Protestante Digital observes that by 2010 should the current trend continue, every marriage will be matched by a divorce. 'Til death up do part' is clearly under threat.

...which might not be such a bad thing: 68 women died in 2006 at the hands of their partners. This is about average for the past decade. 52 died in the first 8 months of 2007.

Suicide attempts were made by 2,227 people in 2005, of whom 1,909 succeeded, the majority men.


In the first 7 months of 2007 tourist arrivals totalled 33.8 million visitors. It looks like the annual total will again be a record, topping 60 million. By comparison, in the first 9 months of 2005, 44.4 million tourists visited Spain, also a record for the period.

The British were the most numerous, with 9.3 million, followed by the Germans, with 23% more US citizens visiting this year. Catalonia saw the largest number of visitors (25%), followed by the Balearics, the Canaries and Andalusia. That Catalonia is the main recipient of arrivals is no surprise, as in addition to being one of the most seasoned destinations, many travellers still use overland routes, via the region, regardless of ultimate destination. In addition, Ryan Air has two major new hubs in the region. However, almost 75% fly in. One interesting fact is that packages are falling in popularity and most (68%) now make their own arrangements.


The number of homes rose over the ten years from 17 million to 21 million, but the proportion of second homes actually decreased. Nevertheless, the number of Spaniards remaining in the parental home between 25 and 34 years of age is 37.7%. Among the reasons are the rocketing price of housing, although ever more young people delay the age of marriage, with a corresponding fall also in the fertility rate. Yet there is also a rise in the number of single parent homes and of young unmarried couples living together.

INE links

More information from the INE.

At this site you will find links to:
The 2001 Census
2007 in figures,
The 2007 year book
Men and Women in Spain, 2007
and more (visible homepage content varies regularly).

If you want to see an up to date chart of most of the economic figures it is here.

Other matters of interest


According to a survey published 27/05/03 and as reported on TVE, only 5% of Spaniards eat well, as against over 30% who eat badly; all this, despite the acclaimed excellence of the 'Mediterranean Diet', which is eaten by ever less people.
In September 2003 the Health ministry launched a 'healthy living'campaign aimed specifically at making people aware of the dangers of bad eating at a young age. 15% of children are obese, while almost 50% are over weight.Does that mean the other half are underweight?


5 August 2003. In 2002 the total number of crimes reported was 2.148.500 . 83% were against property. This included 80,000 burglaries -one every 9 minutes-, 151.800 cars were stolen, there was 7 million Euros worth of credit card fraud, jewellers lost 27 million Euros worth of goods and shops in general lost 1.800 million Euros in value.
Alicante, Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona headed the list of these types of crime, whose growth is put down to an increase in organised crime.
The Civil Guard reckon that 486 organised bands were at work, of which 55% included combinations of nationals and foreigners, while 26% were exclusively foreign.
In 2003 the number of police is 43.883, the lowest number for years. The decline started in 1990. Figures from the Bank users' association AUSBANC as reported in El Mundo.

Base Change, Note

In May 2005 INE has anounced a change in the base for its statistics to CNE 2000 (previously 1995), a base incorporating the 2001 census and the constantly updated municipal figures, as well as similar bases for other, mainly economic figures. For example, they have 'discovered almost a million additional 'equivalent full-time jobs'! More in the (Spanish) Press Note