Malaga's population growth is solely down to immigration



Malaga's population growth is solely down to immigration

The number of Spanish-born residents in the province fell for the first time ever and the population growth of just over 3,200 people in the first quarter of 2024 is due to the arrival of foreign-born residents

Cristina Vallejo


Sunday, 12 May 2024, 07:23


Malaga gained exactly 3,226 more residents in the first quarter of 2024, making a total of 1,774,447 inhabitants in the province. This is the fifth largest increase in the country, behind Madrid (30,724 residents), Barcelona (18,387), Valencia (10,541) and Alicante (5,884). Still, relatively speaking, as a percentage of the population Malaga is a little further behind the other provinces in the ranking of resident gains. To be precise, those 3,226 residents added to Malaga's population between 1 January and 1 April equates to a rise of 0.18%, well behind the percentage increases in Madrid, Castellón and Valencia, where the increase is equivalent to 0.4%. These are figures from the latest Continuous Population Statistics (CPS) collated from the Continuous Household Survey and published last Thursday by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

In Spain as a whole, the number of residents has risen by 82,346, which represents an increase of 0.17%, to 48.692 million people. Therefore, Malaga's population continues to grow slightly more than the Spanish average. However, something unprecedented has happened in the province during this period. For the first time since quarterly records began, going back to 2021, there has been a reduction in the number of residents in the province who were also born in Spain. Specifically, on 1 April 2024 there were 223 fewer Spaniards living in the province than on 1 January, to a total of 1,361,799 people. Before 2021 the INE published half-yearly data, and in no six-month period had there been a fall in the number of Spanish-born residents in the province either.

3,449 new residents born in other countries

are the ones sustaining Malaga's demographic growth, because the population of Spanish origin fell by 223 in the first quarter

This means that the growth in the number of residents in Malaga in the last quarter rests exclusively on people born outside Spain. Their numbers have risen by 3,449, reaching a total of 412,648 foreign residents.

This phenomenon is country-wide: in this first quarter Spain has lost 37,303 citizens born in Spain, compared with the gain of nearly 120,000 foreign residents.

23.25% of residents were born outside Spain

As of 1 April this year, 23.25% of residents in Malaga were born abroad, compared to 18.31% in Spain (almost nine million people). This makes Malaga the ninth province in mainland Spain - and the tenth if we include Melilla as Spanish-held territory - with the highest proportion of residents born outside Spain. Alicante and the Balearic Islands are at the top of this list with foreign residents making up over 27% of their populations. In Andalucía, Almería is ahead of Malaga at 24.5%.

In absolute numbers, Malaga, with just over 412,000 residents, is the province with the fifth highest number of foreign residents. However, in terms of total number of residents, it is in sixth place, behind Madrid - with almost 1.7 million - Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Seville.

But in the last quarter there have been Spanish provinces that have lost residents. That list is headed up by Zaragoza, which has seen its number of residents fall by 2,761 people, followed by Cordoba, which has dropped by 2,264. This latter province is not the only one in Andalucía to have lost population: Jaén has seen its number of residents fall by 643 and Seville by 422.

14,500 more residents in the last 12 months

So, Malaga has gained residents in the first quarter of this year thanks to the addition of residents born in other countries, as the number of those born in Spain has fallen. This begs the question as to whether this balances out better when we look at the last twelve months. Well, the increase in the number of residents in the last year has been 0.82%, i.e. just over 14,500 residents, making Malaga the seventh province with the highest number of residents, after Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, the Balearic Islands and Murcia. In this case, both people born in Spain and foreigners made a positive contribution: the former grew by almost 1,500, while the latter increased by just over 13,000.

Looking at the whole country, the resident population of Spain has increased by nearly half a million people in the last twelve months, i.e. by almost 1%. In this case the growth occurred despite what happened to those born in Spain, which fell by nearly 70,000 people to 39.77 million, compared with an increase of almost 530,000 more foreign-born residents.

3,711 residents less

counted in Cordoba, the province that has suffered the greatest demographic loss in the last twelve months.

In the last year, Cordoba and Jaén have topped the Spanish league table in terms of loss of residents: the former has lost 3,711 residents and the latter has lost just over 1,500 between 1 April 2023 and the same date this year. León, Cáceres, Zamora, Badajoz and Salamanca are also experiencing decreases in population.

Moroccan, British and Italian workers feature highest in Malaga province

Foreigners account for around 15% of the total number of workers paying their social security dues in Malaga province. According to CCOO data from year end 2023, most of them - around 60,000 - are non-EU workers, while EU workers account for just over 36,500. Among the people coming from countries outside the European Union, the most significant group is from Morocco, with more than 9,600, followed by the UK at around 9,400, while Ukrainian citizens numbering just over 6,100. As far as workers entering from EU countries are concerned, the Italians dominate, with almost 9,000, followed by Germans, with almost 3,000, the French with almost as many, while the Dutch are just shy of 2,500. As far as recruitment is concerned, last year, according to CC OO data, foreign workers represented 17.21% of the total workforce. Some 61.3% of the contracts were permanent, above the provincial average, and 44% were full-time, also above the average for Malaga.

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