British migration to Spain

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Spaniards of British origin
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Andalusia, Valencian Community, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands
English, Spanish
Anglicanism, Protestantism and Catholicism,
Related ethnic groups

British migration to Spain has resulted in Spain being home to one of the largest British-born populations outside of the United Kingdom. Migration from the UK to Spain has increased rapidly since the late 1990s and the British population of Spain in 2006 was estimated to be about 761,000 (more than twenty-five times the population of Gibraltar).[1][2] Of these, according to the BBC and contrary to popular belief, only about 21.5% are over the age of 65.[1]


Population size[edit]

In 2007, the officially registered British-born population of Spain numbered 315,000[3] (though various estimates place the true figure significantly higher, ranging from 700,000 to more than 1,000,000[4][5][6]), constituting 8.09% of the foreign population and making Britain the fourth most common country from which immigrants to Spain originate (behind Morocco, Romania, and Ecuador).

Population distribution[edit]

According to the data collected by the INE, the distribution of Britons in Spain is as follows[7]

Location Population
Valencian Community 82,214
Andalusia 63,472
Canary Islands 24,742
Balearic Islands 14,744
Catalonia 13,747
Region of Murcia 9,708
Other autonomies 9,564
Community of Madrid 6,650

Social issues[edit]

Academic research has shown that a section of the British population in Spain is poorly integrated into Spanish society.[8][9][10][11][12] A survey of 340 British migrants in the Province of Málaga, for example, found that one third rarely or never met Spanish people, apart from in shops and restaurants, and that 60 per cent did not speak Spanish well.[13] Moves are afoot to improve integration.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Brits Abroad". BBC. 6 December 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Where have the figures come from?". Brits Abroad FAQs: The data (BBC). 11 December 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Estadística. (National Statistics Institute)". Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Brits Abroad: Country-by-country". BBC News. 11 December 2006. 
  5. ^ Tremlett, Giles (26 July 2006). "Spain attracts record levels of immigrants seeking jobs and sun". The Guardian (London). 
  6. ^ Burke, Jason (9 October 2005). "An Englishman's home is his casa as thousands go south". The Guardian (London). 
  7. ^ Barclays'05eng.indd[dead link]
  8. ^ Stevens, Jackie; Blanca, Costa (22 November 2006). "Dark side of sunny Spain for Britain's elderly expatriates". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  9. ^ Campbell, Duncan (29 March 2011). "Most Brits in Spain say no gracias to integration". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  10. ^ "British pupils have most problems in adapting to schools on the Costa del Sol". Diario Sur. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  11. ^ "Why Brits don’t learn Spanish". Diario Sur. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  12. ^ "It’s the British children who have the most difficulty integrating in class". Diario Sur. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  13. ^ "British migrants feel the strain in Spain". The Edge (Economic and Social Research Council) 19: 4. June 2005. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  14. ^ Campbell, Duncan (4 December 2011). "Economic crisis: The pain in Spain". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-12-10. 

Further reading[edit]

  • O'Reilly, Karen (2000). The British on the Costa Del Sol: Transnational Identities and Local Communities. London: Routledge. ISBN 1-84142-047-6.