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Spain Among Top 10 EU Nations with Largest Foreign Population, Latest Data Shows


As of January 2024, nearly 8.8 million foreigners were living in Spain, according to the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE).

Such a figure represents more than 17 per cent of the total population in Spain, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

Meanwhile, Spain’s total population hit a record of 48.5 million, the highest number since the records started. The estimated annual population growth was 507,548. INE attributed the majority of this increase to the growth of the number of individuals born abroad.

This population [foreign] – 8,775,213 – was more than that of Spanish nationality due to the process of acquiring Spanish citizenship. Thus, the number of foreigners rose by 72,504 during the quarter, reaching 6,491,502. The population of Spanish nationality grew by 13,366.

National Statistics Institute

Moreover, according to Eurostat, Spain ranked among the top ten European countries with the highest number of foreign population. Other EU countries with the largest foreign population were Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus, Ireland, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Estonia.

Moroccans Emerged as Most Representative Foreign Nationality in Spain Last Year

The main nationalities of immigrants during the last quarter of 2023 were Colombian (with 42,600 arrivals in Spain), Venezuelan (27,300) and Moroccan (25,800).

The latter emerged as the most representative foreign nationality last year, according to a recent publication by Statista. Among the most representative foreign citizens in Spain were also Romanians, Columbians, Italians, and British.

During the same period, almost all autonomous communities and cities in Spain experienced a surge in population. The highest increases were recorded in Melilla, Madrid, and Valencia.

In addition to foreign residents, the number of foreigners obtaining Spanish Citizenship has also increased over the past few years.

According to INE, authorities granted Spanish citizenship to 181,581 foreign residents in 2022, which is 21.6 per cent more than the previous year.

Morocco, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic were the most common nationalities of origin among residents who acquired Spanish citizenship in 2022.

More Spanish People Are Moving Abroad

While Spain is becoming the new home for more and more foreigners each year, on the other hand, the number of Spaniards living abroad is growing. More specifically, the number of Spanish residents residing abroad reached nearly 2.9 million as of January 1 of this year.

According to INE, during the last quarter of 2023, numerous nationalities of emigrants were Spanish (with 10,400 departures), Moroccans (9,500) and Romanians (8,100).

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