SPAIN’S population has topped 47 million for the first time thanks to immigration.
The latest National Institute of Statistics figures on inhabitant numbers and migration show the national population went up by 163,336 between the beginning of January and the end of June last year, putting the total at 47,100,396. This represented an increase of 0.8 per cent on the first six months of 2018.
The arrival of 209,097 more people to the country than those who left in the first half of 2019 made up for the fact the death rate exceeded the number of births by 45,002.
Nationally, there were 348,625 new Spanish and foreign residents, 21.8 per cent up on the previous year. At the same time only 139,528 moved elsewhere, a 17.5 per cent drop on 2018.
Nearly all of those who moved away from Spain were foreigners (98.4 per cent).
By the middle of 2019 there were 5.02 million non-Spaniards living in Spain, representing 10.7 per cent of the population. This is the highest proportion since the end of 2012.
By nationality, Colombians were the largest group entering Spain over the six-month period (27,920), followed by Venezuelans (24,238) and Moroccans (20,627). Both the Ecuadorian and Romanian communities in Spain got smaller between January and June by 1.2 and 0.1 per cent respectively.
Just under 40 per cent of the Spaniards who arrived in Spain were citizens returning to the country. The majority of the rest were individuals with Spanish nationality who were born in another country, coming mainly from Venezuela (6,487), the UK (2,883) and Ecuador (2,853).
Of the 139,528 immigrants who left Spain, Romanians accounted for the biggest group (16,525), followed by Moroccans (9,396). In all 6,049 British citizens moved away.
The UK was the main destinations for the Spaniards who left the country (8,310), followed by France (4,235), and Germany (3,258).
Cataluña was the most popular destination region for new immigrants. Madrid was second, and at some distance Valencia was third.
A further National Institute of Statistics finding was that the average age of the population is now 44, four years more than in 2010 and a long way from the average of 30 in 1975.