Home News Spain’s Foreign Population Surges to 8.8 Million

Spain’s Foreign Population Surges to 8.8 Million

Spain's Foreign Population

Spain Ranks Among The Top 10 EU Countries With The Highest Foreign Population

In a historic milestone, Spain welcomed nearly 8.8 million foreigners into its borders as of January 2024, marking a significant demographic shift, reveals data from the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE).

This surge represents more than 17 percent of Spain’s total population, underscoring the nation’s evolving multicultural landscape.

Spain’s total population also reached a pinnacle at 48.5 million, the highest figure on record, with an estimated annual growth of 507,548 individuals. Notably, INE attributes the majority of this growth to the increasing number of foreign-born residents.

Interestingly, the foreign population, totaling 8,775,213, surpasses that of Spanish nationals, fueled partly by naturalization processes. Over the last quarter, the number of foreigners rose by 72,504, reaching 6,491,502, while the Spanish population saw a more modest increase of 13,366.

Eurostat’s data ranks Spain among the top ten European nations with the highest foreign populations, alongside countries like Luxembourg, Malta, and Cyprus.

Moroccans Emerged as Leading Foreign Nationality in Spain

A recent study by Statista highlights Moroccans as the most prominent foreign nationality in Spain, based on 2023 data. Notable immigrant groups also include Colombians, Italians, and British citizens.

The influx of immigrants in the last quarter of 2023 saw significant arrivals from Colombia, Venezuela, and Morocco, further enriching Spain’s diverse cultural fabric.

Surge in Spanish Citizenship Grants

In tandem with the rise in foreign residents, there has been a notable uptick in the acquisition of Spanish citizenship. INE reports a 21.6 percent increase in citizenship grants in 2022, with Morocco, Colombia, and Ecuador among the leading countries of origin for new Spanish citizens.

Spanish Emigration Trends

While Spain attracts a burgeoning number of foreigners annually, the trend of Spanish emigration is also noteworthy. The number of Spanish residents abroad has climbed to nearly 2.9 million, reflecting a growing global diaspora.

The last quarter of 2023 saw significant departures, with Spanish nationals, Moroccans, and Romanians comprising the largest emigrant groups.

As Spain continues to evolve as a global hub for immigration, these demographic shifts underscore the nation’s growing cosmopolitan identity and interconnectedness with the broader world.

Spain, with its vibrant blend of culture, history, and lifestyle, has a magnetic pull for expats. Let’s explore the reasons why people are drawn to this enchanting country:

  1. Warm Climate: Spain basks in long hours of sunshine and mild winters. The allure of sunny days and pleasant temperatures is irresistible.
  2. Rich Cultural Heritage: From world-renowned cuisine to vibrant festivals and historic landmarks, Spain offers a diverse tapestry of cultural delights. Cities like Barcelona and Granada showcase architectural wonders, while Andalusian villages exude quaint charm.
  3. Affordable Cost of Living: Compared to other Western European countries, Spain’s cost of living is more budget-friendly. Expats can stretch their budget without compromising quality of life.
  4. Welcoming Attitude: Spain embraces expats with open arms. Its large and diverse expat communities foster integration and a sense of belonging.
  5. Visa Options: While EU citizens enjoy visa-free living, non-EU expats can explore various visa categories for short or long stays. Ensuring viable job options is crucial for a fulfilling expat experience.

Now, let’s delve into some popular expat-friendly cities in Spain:

  • Madrid: Spain’s capital boasts a dynamic urban lifestyle, world-class museums, and excellent dining and nightlife options.
  • Barcelona: A vibrant city known for its unique architecture, beaches, and lively atmosphere.
  • Valencia: Combining historic charm with modern amenities, Valencia offers a balanced lifestyle.
  • Malaga: Stunning beaches, rich history, and delicious food make Malaga a delightful choice.
  • Seville: Famous for flamenco, historic sites, and a relaxed pace of life.


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