MIGUE FERNÁNDEZ

Malaga is the Spanish province with the largest population growth during the pandemic

The province attracts a wide range of new residents ready to settle down for good, and the population exceeds 1.7 million, for the first time

ANTONIO JAVIER LÓPEZ

In the past 18 months, some 17,247 people moved to Malaga with the province’s population exceeding 1.7 million for the first time. According to Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE) Malaga province saw a population increase of 1.02 per cent during the period between January 2020 and July 2021.

The figure makes Malaga the province that has gained the most population in Spain in absolute terms. And in relative terms, the Malaga increase of 1.02 per cent is only beaten by Guadalajara with 1.18 per cent, although the population in that province (265,508 residents) is six times less than that of Malaga.

Meanwhile, other major cities are losing residents. The population of Madrid declined 0.16 per cent; Barcelona by 0.10 per cent; and Bilbao 0.71 per cent. However, Valencia and Seville saw increases of 0.34 per cent and 0.07 per cent respectively, a slower rate of growth than Malaga.

Among those who have new homes in Malaga is Laura Baena, a native of the province who lived in Madrid for 18 years. “I’m proud to have taken the step and that this pandemic, which is so terrible in so many aspects, has been a personal opportunity for me. Malaga has been the key to doing things differently. On a personal level, the change has been incredible,” she said.

"Malaga is not the same city that I left when I was 21. It is much more cosmopolitan and culturally super powerful. Malaga is a place where I not only want to live but somewhere I can develop professionally and generate wealth and opportunities from here. I am rediscovering this wonderful city not only in terms of standard of living but also on a professional level,” she added.

'Best school in Andalucía'

Regina Pérez Castillo, an art historian and teacher at the San Telmo School who has previously lived in Córdoba, Almería, Granada and Seville, said, “I arrived in September 2020. The school is the best in Andalucia, in my opinion, with a strong cultural ethos and great management.

“I was always clear about my preferred destination, Malaga. First, because of the art school and, second, because my family is spread out between Almeria and Granada and communications from here are very easy. Now what I want is to do is settle here. I have been stumbling for years and Malaga seems to me the best place to create my little nest,” she added.