expatica.com, Mar. 30
MADRID — The number of foreigners living in Spain has risen by more than a third in just 12 months, according to new figures released Tuesday.
The National Institute of Statistics (NIS) said the number of registered foreigners was 2,664,168 in January last year — a 34 percent increase in 12 months since 2002.
This meant foreigners made up 6.2 percent of the total population of 41.8 million.
There have been 686,224 new applications by foreigners to register with the authorities in the same period.
Of these, 1.5 million have applied to the Ministry of the Interior for permission to work or for a residence card.
In comparison, in 2002 there were 1.9 million foreigners registered with the government.
The number of people registered as Spanish citizens has risen by 192,946 — or 0.48 percent.
The biggest increase in foreigners was in Catalonia (160,941), Madrid (144,775) and Valencia (112,617).
Catalonia has replaced Madrid as the region with the fastest-rising immigrant population.
But the Balearic Islands are still the favourite place for foreigners to live.
In terms of the total of number of expats living in Spain, 13.35 percent live in the Balearics, followed by Madrid (10.3 percent), the Canary Islands (9.47 percent), Valencia (9.25 percent), Murcia (8.97 percent) and Catalonia (8.1 percent).
Ecuadorians are still biggest group of foreigners, with 390,297 living in Spain — or 14.65 percent. They are followed by Moroccans (379,979, 14.23 percent), then Colombians (244,684 or 9.18 percent).
Britons are the fourth-biggest expat community, with 161,507 making up or 6.06 percent of all foreigners.
However, unofficial estimates put the number of Britons living in Spain at closer to 500,000.
Romanians make up the next biggest group with 137,347 or 5.16 percent of all foreigners.
Germans are the fifth biggest group with 130,232 (4.89 percent) registered with authorities.
There are 109,445 Argentineans, who make up 4.11 percent of the foreign population.
The nationalities with the fastest rising populations are Ecuadorians, Moroccans and Romanians.
The NIS said just over four percent of foreigners listed their place of birth as Spain.
Of these, the nationality with the largest number of people born in the country were Moroccans (28,834) Ecuadorians (8.068), French (6,009), British (5,097) Portuguese (4,757) Chinese (4,696), Italians (3,413) and Romanians (2,529)