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The Spanish regions where the population has declined the most

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The Spanish regions where the population has declined the most
Zamora is one of the places where the population has declined the most in Spain. Photo: wwwhats / Pixabay

The dwindling population in certain areas of the country is becoming an increasing problem in Spain and the Spanish government has revealed the regions where the number of inhabitants has decreased the most in the last 10 years.


According to Spain's National Statistics Institute (INE), 22 million Spaniards live in the 100 most populated municipalities in Spain. Surprisingly, this means that around half of the total Spanish population is concentrated in 4 percent of the national territory. Only 12 percent of the country is inhabited in Spain, more than five times less than France or Germany, for example.

The problem has been dubbed España Vaciada or Empty Spain and has become so intense that the issue now even has its own political party. España Vaciada originally formed as a protest group in 2019 and was born from localised groups such as Soria Ya! and Teruel Existe. 

READ ALSO: How ‘Empty Spain’ is now a political party


Castilla y León, Asturias, Extremadura and Galicia are the four regions that have suffered the most population loss in the last ten years, according to the Spanish government.  

On a provincial level, the two provinces that lead the ranking of the least densely populated areas are Soria in Castilla y León, with 8.69 inhabitants per square kilometre and Teruel in Aragón with 9 inhabitants per km2.

They are considered, according to the criteria of the European Union, as demographically disadvantaged territories because they have a population density of less than 12.5 inhabitants/km2. Economic measures have already been approved to try to save them such as reductions in Social Security contributions to try and attract companies to the areas.  

READ ALSO: Why foreigners are buying more property than ever in ’empty Spain’ 

The other two least densely populated provinces are Huesca, also in Aragón with 14.24 inhabitants/km2, and Zamora in Castilla y León with 15.85 inhabitants/km2, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE).  

Most densely populated areas in Spain

The latest figures from the INE also show that the population of Spain grew by 1.3 percent between 2012 and 2022.

As well as revealing the regions which have seen their populations decline the most in the last 10 years, the government also revealed that the population of the Balearic Islands increased by 10 percent in the same period.

The latest INE data shows that the five most densely populated provinces are the enclaves of Melilla with 6,900 inhabitants/km2 and Ceuta with 4,107 inhabitants/km2, followed by Madrid with 850 inhabitants/km2, Barcelona with 732 inhabitants/km2 and Vizcaya in the Basque Country with 512 inhabitants/km2.

More than 4,000 small municipalities have also registered a positive residential balance since 2018, while some large cities have experienced population outflows towards other lower-density territories, mainly due to the pandemic and the increase in the number of remote jobs. 


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