The number of Spaniards living outside the country hit 2.3 million this year – the highest it has been since the start of the financial crisis, according to figures released on Thursday by the National Institute of Statistics.
This means the number of registered expat Spaniards has jumped roughly 56 percent since 2008 when about 1.4 million Spaniards lived abroad.
Most emigre Spaniards were living in Argentina at about 440,000 people, followed by France (232,693), Venezuela (188,025) and Germany (139,555).
But the US and the UK saw the biggest recent influxes of Spaniards after Argentina, with each recording at least 11,000 more Spaniards from 2015 to 2016.
There are now 102,498 Spaniards registered as living in Britain, a 77 percent rise from 2009, and 139,555 in Germany, a 35 percent increase from seven years ago, according to El Pais.
But the numbers could be even higher as many Spaniards do not register as living in another country.
Many have feared the impacts that a brain drain to other countries will have on Spain as many highly educated citizens seek jobs elsewhere.
“My hypothesis is that the number is made up of two different groups: families from Latin American origin who have Spanish nationality, and young people born in Spain who go to France, Britain and Germany,” sociologist Antonio Izquierdo from the University of La Coruña told El Mundo.
“If [Spanish-born expats] are young, you can assume that they probably have higher levels of educations.”
Most (59.5 percent) of those who have moved abroad actually came from immigrant backgrounds and went back to live in their birth country. This group includes people who were granted Spanish citizenship as former exiles, or descendants of exiles, who had to flee the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, according to El Mundo.
People who were born in Spain and now live abroad made up 33.3 percent, in contrast.
There was also an increase in the number of minors under 16, suggesting that there are more families living abroad, according to Izquierdo.