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Malaga, a magnet for new residents

Malaga, a magnet for new residents
/ Ñito Salas
  • Malaga is the Andalusian province that gained most inhabitants last year and has some of the highest numbers of immigrants in the country

  • Last year 26,506 foreigners and 17,519 Spanish citizens moved to the Costa del Sol

The depopulation that is such a concern for regions in the north of Spain isn't a problem for Malaga, at least when looking at the province as a whole. It appears to be a demographic magnet and every year new people come to live here, attracted by the climate, beaches or economic dynamism.

In 2018 Malaga was once again the province of Andalucía that gained the most population: 9,438 more inhabitants (about 0.57 per cent), taking the total to 1,660,944, according to figures published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) this week.

This was almost exclusively due to the arrival of people from elsewhere, because the natural growth of the population (the difference between births and deaths) was negligible. The figures show that there was a positive net balance of 6,379 from abroad and 2,993 from elsewhere in Spain.

Domestic migration

Malaga is the third province in Spain in terms of net interprovincial migration: the 2,993 mentioned above. Only Madrid and the Balearic Islands are ahead. The figure is obtained by the difference between people who came to Malaga from other parts of Spain (17,519) and those who left to live elsewhere in the country (14,526). This figure has increased compared with last year.

The main provinces of origin of these new residents were Madrid, Granada, Cadiz, Cordoba and Seville. It is interesting to see that Barcelona is in sixth place, with 1,149 people moving from there to Malaga last year.

This increase in internal migration to Malaga includes a combination of profiles. Some people come for work (which increases the active population of the province) while others are wealthy residents of places like Madrid, Barcelona or the Basque Country who find the Costa del Sol a restful place to live. As a result of both these circumstances, Malaga has become a magnet for new Spanish residents.

Foreign residents

Looking at migration to Malaga from abroad, this increased last year by 10 per cent to 26,506. The main countries of origin were the UK, Morocco, Colombia, Italy and Venezuela. Once again, these figures include different profiles. There were immigrants in the most classical sense, who came looking for work; pensioners wanting to spend their retirement years in a lovely place and even refugees from countries in conflict such as Venezuela and Ukraine.

Malaga, a magnet for new residents

As a result of this boost in immigration from abroad, foreigners currently account for 15.3 per cent of the population of Malaga province, while the national average is lower at 10.3 per cent.

At the same time, fewer residents of Malaga moved abroad last year. The number dropped by 14 per cent (20,127 Malaga residents moved to another country), so the migratory balance was more positive than in previous years, with an increase of 6,379 as mentioned earlier.

Thousands left Spain

The figures continue to show that many European residents have returned their countries of origin.

Of the 20,127 people resident in Malaga who left and went abroad last year, only 2,619 were Spanish. Of the other 17,000, 12,000 were from mainland Europe and nearly 5,000 from the UK. However, this flow out of Spain is slowing down compared with previous years.