Spain's expat exodus continues

Alex Dunham
Alex Dunham - [email protected]
Spain's expat exodus continues
190,020 foreigners who were registered in their local town halls left Spain from January 2012 to January 2013. Photo: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP

Spain lost nearly 200,000 registered foreign residents in 2012 as the country's economic crisis continued to bite, official figures released on Friday show.


The new figures from Spain's National Statistics Institute (INE) highlight the continuing fall in the number of registered foreign residents in Spain.

According to the data, there were 190,020 fewer foreigners registered with Spain's local town halls on January 1st 2013 than on the same date a year earlier.

While these figures fail to take into account the huge number of foreigners in Spain who fail to register on their local civil register (padrón), the decline suggests many people are leaving because of the country's economic crisis.   

A breakdown of the figures shows there were 12,712 fewer UK citizens registered in Spain in January 2013 than in the same month of the previous year.

This saw the number of registered UK citizens come down to 385,588. (To put this in context, the British Embassy in Madrid estimates there are as many as 800,000 Britons actually resident in Spain).   

Meanwhile, Spain’s registered German population also dropped — from 250,885 to 236,031 while numbers for France slipped almost 5,000 to 221,925.

Then there are Romanians, Spain's biggest foreign population, who also saw a drop in their numbers from by over 30,000 to 801,412.

Beyond Europe, the numbers for the country's largest South American expat group, the Ecuadorians, went down by 15,407 taking the total to 456,233.

This figure, may however, be influenced by the numbers of Ecuadorians taking out Spanish citizenship.

The INE data shows Spain's Spanish population rose by 54,482 in the twelve months from January 2012 to January 2013, with foreigners taking out Spanish citizenship also affecting the numbers here. 

Surprisingly, the INE data shows the number of US citizens registered as living in Spain climbed from 2012 to 2013 from 39,733 to 41,049.

Spain’s overall population dropped by 135,538 in 2012 to hit 47,129,783 in January 2013, the new INE figures show.

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