Immigration to Spain

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Immigration to Spain (2020)
Total population
7,231,195 born abroad (15.23%)[1]
5,434,153 foreign citizenship (11.45%)[2]
Immigration to Spain by country (2008)

Immigration to Spain increased significantly in the beginning of the 21st century. In 1998, immigrants accounted for 1.6% of the population, and by 2009, that number had jumped to above 12% — one of the highest in Europe at the time.[citation needed] Until 2014, the numbers were decreasing due to the economic crisis, but since then, immigration to Spain has increased again since 2015.

As of 2020, there were 7,231,195 foreign-born people in Spain, making up to 15.23% of the Spanish population including 5,015,263 (10.57%) born in a non-European country.[3] Of these, 5,434,153 (11.45%) didn't have the Spanish citizenship.[4][5] This makes Spain one of the world's preferred destinations to immigrate to, being the 4th country in Europe by immigration numbers and the 10th worldwide. Spain attracts significant immigration from Latin America and Eastern Europe. The fastest-growing immigrant groups in 2017 were Venezuelans, Colombians, Italians, Ukrainians, and Argentinians.[6]

The population of Spain doubled during the 20th century due to the spectacular demographic boom in the 1960s and early 1970s. The birth rate then plunged by the 1980s, and Spain's population became stagnant, its demographics showing one of the lowest sub-replacement fertility rate in the world.[citation needed].

During the early 21st century, the average year-on-year demographic growth set a new record with its 2003 peak variation of 2.1%, doubling the previous record reached back in the 1960s when a mean year on year growth of 1% was experienced.[7] This trend is far from being reversed at the present moment and, in 2005 alone, the immigrant population of Spain increased by 700,000 people.[8]

Currently[edit]

Impact of immigration on the Spanish population pyramid
Foreign population in Spain[9][10][11]
Year Population % total
1981 198,042 0.52%
1986 241,971 0.63%
1991 360,655 0.91%
1996 542,314 1.37%
1998 637,085 1.60%
2000 923,879 2.28%
2001 1,370,657 3.33%
2002 1,977,946 4.73%
2003 2,664,168 6.24%
2004 3,034,326 7.02%
2005 3,730,610 8.46%
2006 4,144,166 9.27%
2007 4,519,554 9.9%
2008 5,268,762 11.4%
2009 5,648,671 12.1%
2010 5,747,734 12.2%
2011 5,751,487 12.2%
2012 5,736,258 12.1%
2013 5,546,238 11.8%
2014 5,023,487 10.7%
2015 4,729,644 10.1%
2016 4,618,581 9.9%
2017 4,572,807 9.8%
2018 4,663,726 10.0%
2019 5,023,279 10.7%
2020 5,434,153 11.5%

According to the United Nations, there were 5,947,106 immigrants in Spain in early 2018, 12.8% of population of Spain.[12] According to the Spanish government, there were 5.6 million foreign residents in Spain in 2010; independent estimates put the figure 14% of total population (Red Cross, World Disasters Report 2006). According to the official 2011 census data, almost 800,000 were Romanian, 774,000 were Moroccan, 317,000 were Ecuadorian, 312,000 were British and 250,000 were Colombian [11]. Other important foreign communities are Bolivian (4.1%), German (3.4%), Italian (3.1%), Bulgarian (2.9%), Chinese (2.6%) and Argentine (2.5%). In 2005, a regularization programme increased the legal immigrant population by 700,000 people. Since 2000, Spain has experienced high population growth as a result of immigration flows, despite a birth rate that is only half of the replacement level.

According to Eurostat, in 2010, there were 6.4 million foreign-born residents in Spain, corresponding to 14.0% of the total population. Of these, 4.1 million (8.9%) were born outside the EU and 2.3 million (5.1%) were born in another EU Member State.[13]

As of 2005 Spain had the second highest immigration rates within the EU, just after Cyprus, and the second highest absolute net migration in the World (after the USA).[14] This can be explained by a number of reasons including its strong economic growth at the time, the large size of its underground economy and the strength of the agricultural and construction sectors which demand more low cost labour than can be offered by the national workforce, as well as business opportunities for immigrants coming from other developed countries. In fact, booming Spain was Europe's largest absorber of migrants from 2002 to 2007, with its immigrant population more than doubling as 2.5 million people arrived.[citation needed]

Over 920,000 immigrants arrived in Spain during 2007, on top of the 802,971 new arrivals in 2006, 682,711 new arrivals in 2005, and 645,844 new arrivals in 2004.[15]

Although the number of immigrants in Spain, officially, is smaller than that of other countries in the EU, the following data should be taken into consideration:

Sneakers with nails in the soles and a metal hook, that illegal migrants use to jump the fences of Ceuta and Melilla.
  • Immigrants from countries belonging to the former Spanish Empire (mainly in Central and South America–Latin America–, Asia–the Philippines– and Africa–Equatorial Guinea and Western Sahara–) can obtain Spanish nationality after legal and continuous residence of 2 years in Spain, after which naturalized citizens are no longer counted as immigrants.
  • In order to avoid statelessness, Spain automatically grants Spanish nationality to the children of immigrants born in Spain whose parents' nationality of origin is not transferred jus sanguinis upon their child's birth abroad. This is unlike many other countries in the EU.[citation needed] It is for this reason that although the Latin American immigrants of origin are most numerous, the Romanians or the Moroccans surpassed them in the official statistics.

In the same way the majority of children born in Spain between 2000 and 2010 are children of immigrants despite not counting as such. Considering these data, there are sectors of Spanish society who oppose immigration that affirm the real number of immigrants in Spain is 10–11 million, or about 25% of the total population.

As for nationalities outside of this category, in order to stay in Spain for more than 3 months, a residence card, residence visa or work permit is required.[16]

In all, two distinct groups can be identified: those immigrants (mostly in working age) originating from countries mostly located in Eastern Europe, South America or Africa, with lower GDP per capita than Spain, comprising most of the immigrating population, and those (whom many are retired) immigrants originating from northern European or another western countries with a higher GDP per capita than Spain.[17]

Immigrants from Europe[edit]

Immigrants from the Europe make up a growing proportion of immigrants in Spain. The main countries of origin are Romania, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria.

The British authorities estimate that the real population of British citizens living in Spain is much bigger than Spanish official figures suggest, establishing them at about 1,000,000, about 800,000 being permanent residents.[18] Of these, according to the BBC and contrary to popular belief, only about 21.5% are over the age of 65.[19]

In fact, according to the Financial Times, Spain is the most favoured destination for West Europeans considering to move from their own country and seek jobs elsewhere in the EU.[20]

Social attitudes to immigration[edit]

Unlike other countries in the EU, Spain has not recorded any relevant anti-immigration bout to date.[21] According to some analysts, the causes behind this are multiple. In addition to the lack of strong right-wing political parties, it also must be added that the legacy of Francoist Spain left an ingrained skepticism towards right-wing authoritarianism. Drawing from the experience of many Spaniards during the 1960s and then again in the beginning of the 21st century when the crisis struck the country, there may be also a collective understanding that hardships force people to seek work abroad.[21]

A January 2004 survey by Spanish newspaper El País showed that the "majority" of Spaniards believe immigration was too high.[22] Small parties, such as Movimiento Social Español, openly campaign using nationalist or anti-immigrant rhetoric as do other small far-right parties such as National Democracy (Spain) and España 2000. These parties have never won national or regional parliamentary seats. However, since its foundation, Vox party has experiencing a high growth.

Immigration by country of origin[edit]

Recent trends[edit]

Countries with at least 10,000 persons, immigrating each year.[23]
Country 2016 2017 2018 2019
Venezuela Venezuela 31,553 52,385 71,666 73,932
Morocco Morocco 30,097 40,372 61,715 73,560
Colombia Colombia 24,844 36,678 56,253 80,054
United Kingdom United Kingdom 23,876 28,875 31,276 37,617
Romania Romania 27,860 30,235 28,030 25,675
Honduras Honduras 11,074 18,573 23,671 29,185
Italy Italy 18,526 22,203 22,002 21,517
Peru Peru 9,711 15,945 21,463 31,307
Argentina Argentina 10,852 14,904 19,166 31,132
Brazil Brazil 11,954 14,816 17,863 18,703
France France 13,341 16,290 16,210 16,543
Ecuador Ecuador 12,349 15,600 15,893 17,635
Cuba Cuba 8,122 10,280 14,265 17,588
United States United States 9,942 12,719 13,853 15,050
Germany Germany 10,505 12,714 13,314 13,262
China China 10,552 11,779 12,182 12,757
Nicaragua Nicaragua 4,250 6,330 11,732 17,410
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 9,709 11,324 10,813 11,037
Total 414,746 532,132 643,684 748,759

Major immigration[edit]

This chart shows the numbers and difference of foreign nationals in Spain after 2000. European Union member states are indicated with the EU flag in regional European sub-divisions. The number of Latin American immigrants decreased massively after 2009 mostly due to the naturalization of hundreds of thousands of these citizens who achieved the Spanish citizenship and therefore do not count as immigrants anymore on the official statistics.[24] See the chart from below from the "Naturalizations" paragraph for further information.

Origin 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020[25] Article
 Morocco 173,158 511,294 754,080 750,883 865,945 Moroccans in Spain
European Union Romania 6,410 317,366 831,235 752,268 667,378 Romanians in Spain
 Colombia 25,247 271,239 292,641 151,258 273,050 Colombians in Spain
 United Kingdom 99,017 227,187 387,677 283,243 262,885 British migration to Spain
European Union Italy 27,874 95,377 184,277 179,363 252,008 Italians in Spain
 China 19,191 87,731 158,244 191,638 232,807 Chinese people in Spain
 Venezuela 12,119 49,206 60,399 48,421 189,110 Venezuelans in Spain
 Ecuador 20,481 497,799 399,586 176,397 130,919 Ecuadorians in Spain
European Union Bulgaria 3,031 93,037 169,552 142,328 122,375 Bulgarians in Spain
 Honduras 1,293 7,017 27,363 43,283 121,963 -
 Ukraine 1,646 65,667 83,313 91,004 115,186 Ukrainians in Spain
European Union Germany 88,651 133,588 195,824 130,911 111,937 Germans in Spain
European Union France 46,375 77,791 123,870 99,598 108,275 French in Spain
 Peru 27,422 85,029 140,182 71,112 106,712 Peruvians in Spain
 Brazil 11,126 54,115 117,808 73,863 98,655 -
 Pakistan 4,195 31,913 56,877 77,695 97,705 Pakistanis in Spain
European Union Portugal 43,339 66,236 142,520 98,751 97,628 Portuguese in Spain
 Bolivia 2,117 97,947 213,169 126,375 92,630 Bolivians in Spain
 Argentina 23,351 152,975 132,249 75,313 89,029 Argentines in Spain
 Paraguay 711 16,295 85,687 69,451 87,045 Paraguayans in Spain
 Russia 5,199 36,319 49,820 68,387 82,788 Russians in Spain
 Senegal 7,526 29,608 61,970 61,798 76,973 -
 Dominican Republic 24,847 57,134 91,212 75,315 75,261 Dominicans in Spain
 Algeria 10,759 46,278 58,743 62,398 66,893 -
 Cuba 17,814 45,009 54,954 46,397 64,634 -
 Nicaragua 700 1,953 12,190 20,941 57,530 -
 India 6,807 17,558 32,947 36,724 54,387 -
European Union Poland 8,164 36,477 86,324 63,324 53,418 Poles in Spain
European Union Netherlands 21,763 33,845 53,983 45,844 46,891 -
 United States 15,720 25,831 25,771 30,183 40,712 -
TOTAL 923,879 3,730,610 5,747,734 4,729,644 5,036,878

From other countries[edit]

Europe[edit]

European Union member states are indicated with the EU flag in regional European sub-divisions.

Origin 2007 2006 Ref.
 Albania 1,353 1,316 [26]
 Andorra 1,022 1,075
European Union Austria 8,651 7,776
 Belarus 3,135 3,262
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,659 1,827
European Union Croatia 1,649 1,788
European Union Cyprus 146 130
European Union Czech Republic 6,423 5,160
European Union Denmark 10,906 9,977
European Union Estonia 984 784
European Union Finland 9,990 9,313
European Union Greece 3,567 3,027
European Union Hungary 4,597 3,344
 Iceland 1,083 920
European Union Ireland 13,279 11,495
European Union Latvia 2,128 1,741
 Liechtenstein 48 117
European Union Lithuania 18,528 15,200
European Union Luxembourg 562 1,336
 North Macedonia 407 440
European Union Malta 152 129
 Moldova 12,801 11,330
 Norway 15,630 14,154
 Serbia 3,133 3,474
European Union Slovakia 5,999 4,515
European Union Slovenia 799 619
European Union Sweden 20,058 18,096
  Switzerland 16,361 15,385
Rest of European countries 66 83
TOTAL EUROPE 1,895,727 1,609,856

Africa[edit]

Origin 2007 2006 Article
 Angola 2,114 3,698
 Cape Verde 2,998 3,611
 Cameroon 4,029 3,955
 Republic of the Congo 1,801 1,888
 Ivory Coast 1,636 1,759
 Egypt 2,566 3,634 Egyptians in Spain
 Gambia 17,393 13,627
 Ghana 12,699 13,133
 Guinea 9,159 9,901
 Equatorial Guinea 13,129 19,456 Spanish Equatoguineans
 Guinea-Bissau 5,229 5,274
 Liberia 581 1,167
 Mali 17,094 14,497
 Mauritania 9,271 9,308
 DR Congo 1,008 1,548
 Sierra Leone 989 1,487
 South Africa 704 2,086
 Tunisia 1,544 2,194 Tunisians in Spain
Rest of African countries 5,041 8,679
TOTAL 806.795

Central America[edit]

Origin 2007 2006
Costa Rica Costa Rica 1,320 2,373
El Salvador El Salvador 3,795 5,102
Guatemala Guatemala 2,417 4,321
Honduras Honduras 14,253 10,652
Nicaragua Nicaragua 4,547 4,204
Panama Panama 1,794 3,520
Rest of Central America countries 1,002 2,517
TOTAL 139.945

North America[edit]

Origin 2007 2006
Canada Canada 2,419 5,420
United States United States 22,082 32,626
Mexico Mexico 21,107 40,574
TOTAL 45.608

Asia[edit]

Origin 2007 2006 Article
 Armenia 9,582 9,365 Armenians in Spain
 Georgia 7,355 6,284
 Philippines 54,385 51,368 Filipinos in Spain
South Korea South Korea 22,465 13,144 Koreans in Spain
India India 21,296 23,296 Indians in Spain
Bangladesh Bangladesh 6,480 6,130
Iran Iran 12,334 4,568 Iranians in Spain
Iraq Iraq 880 1,706 Iraqi people in Spain
Israel Israel 1,713 2,427
Japan Japan 11,636 7,684 Japanese Spaniards
Jordan Jordan 1,088 2,082 Jordanian people in Spain
Lebanon Lebanon 6,250 2,750 Lebanese people in Spain
Syria Syria 6,129 4,575 Syrian people in Spain
 Turkey 1,758 1,656 Turks in Spain
Rest of Asian countries 6,430 2,517
TOTAL 219.843

Oceania[edit]

Origin 2007 2006
Australia Australia 1,455 5,131
New Zealand New Zealand 301 298
Rest of Oceanian countries 494 1,099
TOTAL 2.271

Comparison with other countries from European Union[edit]

According to Eurostat 47.3 million people lived in the European Union in 2010 who were born outside their resident country. This corresponds to 9.4% of the total EU population. Of these, 31.4 million (6.3%) were born outside the EU and 16.0 million (3.2%) were born in another EU member state. The largest absolute numbers of people born outside the EU were in Germany (6.4 million), France (5.1 million), the United Kingdom (4.7 million), Spain (4.1 million), Italy (3.2 million), and the Netherlands (1.4 million).[27]

Country Total population (millions) Total Foreign-born (millions) % Born in other EU state (millions) % Born in a non EU state (millions) %
Germany 81.802 9.812 12.0 3.396 4.2 6.415 7.8
France 64.716 7.196 11.1 2.118 3.3 5.078 7.8
United Kingdom 62.008 7.012 11.3 2.245 3.6 4.767 7.7
Spain 45.989 6.422 14.0 2.328 5.1 4.094 8.9
Italy 60.343 4.798 8.0 1.592 2.6 3.205 5.3
Netherlands 16.575 1.832 11.1 0.428 2.6 1.404 8.5
Greece 11.305 1.256 11.1 0.315 2.8 0.940 8.3
Sweden 9.340 1.337 14.3 0.477 5.1 0.859 9.2
Austria 8.367 1.276 15.2 0.512 6.1 0.764 9.1
Belgium 10.666 1.380 12.9 0.695 6.5 0.685 6.4
Portugal 10.637 0.793 7.5 0.191 1.8 0.602 5.7
Denmark 5.534 0.500 9.0 0.152 2.8 0.348 6.3
EU 27 501.098 47.348 9.4 15.980 3.2 31.368 6.3

Irregular migration[edit]

Irregular migration to Spain is the act of foreign nationals entering Spain, without government permission and in violation of the given nationality law, or staying beyond the termination date of a visa, also in violation of the law.

In order to deal with the overwhelming numbers of illegal immigrants the government has initiated an amnesty in 2005 to reduce the problem. Some critics believe this will only encourage Chain migration.[28][29][30][31]

Naturalizations[edit]

Since the end of the 20th century the number of foreigners who have obtained Spanish nationality has grown steadily, as Spain has been the EU country with the biggest number of approved naturalizations since 2010 until 2015. 1 out of 4 naturalizations made in the European Union in 2014 were belonging to Spain. Most of these naturalizations went to citizens coming from Latin America (which explains the massive decrease of these citizens counting as immigrants in Spain) mainly from Colombia, Ecuador and Perú, although Morocco was amongst the top 3 as well.[32] After 4 years being the first, Spain dropped to the 3rd position in 2015 due to the stricter laws to naturalize citizens. Still, 114.351 foreigners became Spanish citizens in 2015, the majority being Latin Americans.[33]

New Spanish nationals by naturalization, 2005-2015[34][35]
Year
Naturalizations
2005 42.829
2006 62.339
2007 71.810
2008 84.170
2009 79.597
2010 123.721
2011 114.599
2012 115.557
2013 261.295
2014 205.880
2015 114.351
2016 150.944
2017 66.498
2018 90.774
2019 98.954

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Población (españoles/extranjeros) por País de Nacimiento, sexo y año". ine.es. Instituto Nacional de Estadística.
  2. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Estadística del Padrón Continuo". ine.es. Instituto Nacional de Estadística.
  3. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Población (españoles/extranjeros) por País de Nacimiento, sexo y año". ine.es. Instituto Nacional de Estadística.
  4. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Estadística del Padrón Continuo". ine.es. Instituto Nacional de Estadística.
  5. ^ "Sube el número de inmigrantes que viven en España". Datosmacro (in Spanish). 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  6. ^ R. Sanmartín, Olga (25 June 2018). "La llegada de inmigrantes a España aumenta un 28% y hace crecer la población por segundo año consecutivo". El Mundo (in Spanish). Madrid: Unidad Editorial. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Official report on Spanish recent Macroeconomics, including data and comments on immigration" (PDF). La Moncloa: 13–43. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 July 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Evolution of the foreign population in Spain since 1998". Instituto Nacional de Estadística (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  9. ^ Fuente: para los años 1981, 1986 y 1991, los datos se refieren tan sólo a extranjeros con permiso de residencia a 31 de diciembre y proceden del Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, citado en [1][permanent dead link] (tomando, para el porcentaje de 1986, la población española de hecho según la estimación intercensal del INE para el 1 de julio [2]). Para los datos de 1996 y posteriores, todos los datos proceden del INE [3]
  10. ^ For 2013 and 2014
  11. ^ "Población por comunidades, edad (Grupos quinquenales), Españoles/Extranjeros, Sexo y Año".
  12. ^ "España - Inmigración 2019".
  13. ^ 6.5% of the EU population are foreigners and 9.4% are born abroad Archived August 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Eurostat, Katya VASILEVA, 34/2011.
  14. ^ Eurostat – Population in Europe in 2005 Archived August 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
  15. ^ Kern, Soeren (13 May 2009), "Immigration Policy a Casualty of Unemployment in Spain", World Politics Review, retrieved 29 June 2009
  16. ^ Zelmenis, Artis (11 September 2013), "Spanish Immigration Policy", Baltic Legal
  17. ^ Membrado, Joan Carles (21 May 2014). "Pensioners' Coast. Migration of Elderly North Europeans to the Costa Blanca". Mètode (in Catalan). University of Valencia (81). doi:10.7203/metode.81.3111. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  18. ^ [4] [5] [6] [7] "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 December 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) [8] [9] [10]
  19. ^ Special Reports | Brits Abroad. BBC News. Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
  20. ^ News.bg – Europeans Favour Spain for Expat Jobs. International.ibox.bg. Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
  21. ^ a b Buck, Tobias (17 January 2017). "No right turn for Spanish politics". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  22. ^ Staff writer (23 June 2004). "Immigration time-bomb". Expatica. Archived from the original on 28 May 2006. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
  23. ^ Immigration flow from abroad by year, sex and age at INE (Spanish Bureau Office).
  24. ^ "Uno de cada cuatro extranjeros que obtuvieron la nacionalidad en la UE en 2014 la lograron en España". 13 June 2016.
  25. ^ "Población extranjera por Nacionalidad, comunidades, Sexo y Año".
  26. ^ "Población extranjera por Nacionalidad, Sexo y Año". Instituto Nacional de Estadística (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  27. ^ 6.5% of the EU population are foreigners and 9.4% are born abroad Archived August 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Eurostat, Katya VASILEVA, 34/2011.
  28. ^ "Spain Helping Mauritania Slow Illegal Immigration". Voice of America. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  29. ^ "Spain, Like U.S., Grapples With Immigration". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  30. ^ "Spain sees significant drop in illegal immigrants in 2009". Xinhuanet. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  31. ^ Katya Adler, "Spain stands by immigrant amnesty," BBC (25 May 2005). Retrieved 29-10-2013.
  32. ^ Martínez, Silvia (13 June 2016). "Uno de cada cuatro extranjeros que obtuvieron la nacionalidad en la UE en 2014 la lograron en España". El Periódico (in Spanish). Grupo Zeta. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  33. ^ "España fue el tercer país de la UE que más extranjeros nacionalizó en 2015, según Eurostat". Europa Press (in Spanish). 23 April 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  34. ^ "Población (españoles/extranjeros) por País de Nacimiento, sexo y año". Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  35. ^ Adquisiciones de nacionalidad por sexo y nacionalidad previa

External links[edit]