RISE: Immigrant workers are helping to offset a falling Spanish-born population

FIGURES: Number of immigrant workers in Spain rises by 220,000 in two years, data shows. Photo: Shutterstock

AROUND 220,000 people came to Spain from abroad to work from the end of 2016 to the end of last year, according to government data.

Figures from the Active Population Survey (EPA) showed the increase had brought the total population of immigrations in Spain to 2.89 million, up from 2.66 million in 2016. People from outside Spain now make up around 13 per cent of Spain’s working population, according to the EPA.

It comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Spain needed immigrant labour to ensure its welfare system could be funded.


Octavio Granado, Spain’s Social Security Secretary, said the country needed “millions” of taxpayers to keep it afloat.

The EPA found that 79 per cent working age immigrants were employed. Around 21 per cent were unemployed, compared to 13 per cent of Spanish workers.

The figures follow others from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) which showed the arrival of 287,882 immigrants in the first half of last year offset a general population fall. Their arrival led to a net growth of Spain’s population of 74,590.

Recent data also showed that 179,794 babies were born in Spain during the first six months of 2018, the lowest number since records began in 1941.


  1. The primary impact of immigrant inflows to a country is an expansion in the size of its economy, including the labor force. Per capita effects are less predictable: An injection of additional workers into the labor market could negatively impact some people in the pre-existing workforce, native- and foreign-born, while positively impacting others. The wages and employment prospects of many will be unaffected. The direction, magnitude, and distribution of wage and employment effects are determined by the size and speed of the inflow, the comparative skills of foreign-born versus native-born workers and of new arrivals versus earlier immigrant cohorts, and the way other factors of production such as capital adjust to changes in labor supply.


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