British migration to Spain

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British citizens in Spain and
Spaniards of British origin
Ciudadanos británicos en España y
españoles de origen británico
Total population
British nationals
236,669 (2014)[1]
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 the United Kingdom in the world, and the largest in Europe. Migration from the UK to Spain has increased rapidly since the late 1990s and the registered population of British nationals in Spain in 2014 was 236,669 (2014)[2].[3]


Population size[edit]

In 2014, the officially registered population of British nationals in Spain was 236,669 (2014)[4] and 107,326 in 2001.[5][6]236,669 (2014)[7].

Population distribution[edit]

According to the data collected by the INE, the distribution of Britons in Spain in 2005 was as follows:[8]

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]

Research has shown that a section of the British population in Spain is poorly integrated into Spanish society.[9][10][11][12][13] 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.[14] A number of initiatives have been launched to improve integration of British migrants into Spanish life, including language course provision. As a result of the 2008 global financial crisis, some British people in Spain who want to return to the UK have been unable to do so because of the difficulty of selling property in a depressed local housing market.[15] Figures published in January 2015 showed that 2,973 British nationals were in receipt of Unemployment benefits in Spain, paid by the host country.[16] In order to receive an umemployment benefit in Spain, a person must be legally unemployed after making unemployment contributions at least 360 days in the last 6 years and be registered with the employment authorities as available for work[17] The unemployment benefit is paid for a minimum of 4 months and maximum of 24 months, based on the period that the unemployed person has contributed.[18]


There are multiple British international schools located in Spain. The National Association of British Schools in Spain has 52 member schools.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Revision of the Municipal Register 2014. National level Datas, Autonomous Community and Province". Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Población extranjera por sexo, país de nacionalidad y edad (hasta 75 y más)".
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "British People in Spain: An X-ray" (PDF). Barclays IESE Barometer. November 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 September 2006. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  9. ^ Stevens, Jackie; Blanca, Costa (22 November 2006). "Dark side of sunny Spain for Britain's elderly expatriates". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  10. ^ Campbell, Duncan (29 March 2011). "Most Brits in Spain say no gracias to integration". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  11. ^ "British pupils have most problems in adapting to schools on the Costa del Sol". Diario Sur. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  12. ^ "Why Brits don't learn Spanish". Diario Sur. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  13. ^ "It's the British children who have the most difficulty integrating in class". Diario Sur. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  14. ^ "British migrants feel the strain in Spain" (PDF). The Edge. Economic and Social Research Council. 19: 4. June 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  15. ^ Campbell, Duncan (4 December 2011). "Economic crisis: The pain in Spain". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  16. ^ Nardelli, Alberto; Traynor, Ian; Haddou, Leila (19 January 2015). "Revealed: thousands of Britons on benefits across EU". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Contributory Unemployment Benefit" (PDF). Spanish Public Employment Service. January 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  18. ^ "Contributory Unemployment Benefit" (PDF). Spanish Public Employment Service. January 2016. p. 9. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  19. ^ Mansell, Warwick. "Expat guide to Spain: schools" (Archive). The Telegraph. 30 March 2010. Retrieved on 24 October 2015.

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.

External links[edit]