The province of Malaga has grown to 1.7 million inhabitants in 2021, according to the updated census published this week by Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE). This represents an increase in the population of 65% since 1981, above the growth registered at the national level (25%) and also above the 31% that the Andalusian population has increased in the last four decades. Malaga is now the fifth province in terms of population growth in these forty years, behind Guadalajara (85%), the Balearic Islands (80%), Almeria (78%) and Girona (68%).
Between 2011 and 2021, the Malaga population grew by around 100,000 people, (6.4%), a rate only surpassed by the Balearic Islands, where the rise was one per cent higher. The national level was 1.25%.
The increase has been put down to the arrival of foreign citizens. According to figures from the INE, in January 2021 there were nearly 130,000 people on the census in Malaga who ten years earlier resided outside of Spain, representing 7.6% of the total number of people registered. Only four of the country's regions come in higher: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the Balearic Islands, Almeria and Alicante.
In 2021, Malaga city had a total of 24,608 people who lived abroad ten years earlier. Marbella came next, with 20,100. Mijas and Fuengirola were next, with 13,100 and 12,300, respectively.
Regardless of the time of arrival, total 168,681 people of foreign nationality now reside in Malaga who's immediate previous residence was abroad, meaning that about 10% of the resident population comes from outside of Spain.
But, in total, the number of people of foreign nationality registered in Malaga province exceeds 272,000, with the British the highest contributor with 48,800 individuals. Next are people from Morocco, with more than 30,500 of their nationals residing in Malaga.
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