The pandemic and Brexit have both had an impact on Marbella's population over the last year / e. g.

Pandemic slows population growth in Marbella

Restrictions on mobility due to the pandemic and Brexit have taken their toll on the town’s population, which remains the second largest in the province

ESTHER GÓMEZ

The latest census data reveals that the number of people registered in Marbella has risen again, although there has been a significant slowdown in the rate of growth in registrations on the town hall’s ‘Padrón’, caused by the pandemic and Brexit. Although experts believe that this is a one-off and that a continual increase in property sales shows a different reality.

The figures also reveal that Marbella is the second most populated town in Malaga province, hosting about nine percent of the 1.7 million residents living in the province. It is the seventh most populous town in Andalucía, with more residents registered there than some provincial capitals, including Huelva.

According to data provided by the National Statistics Institute (INE), the number of people registered on the town hall’s ‘Padrón’ in Marbella on 1 January 2022 amounts to a total of 147,958 inhabitants, compared with 147,633 registered on 1 January 2021. This translates into an increase of only 325 residents in one year. In 2017, the census confirmed just under 300 new registrations, yet between 2015 and 2016 there was a total increase of 1,207 people.

In 2019, the year before the pandemic, the upward trend in registrations was reflected in the registration of 1,923 more residents, which went from 141,463 inhabitants in 2018 to 143,386 in 2019. This figure more than doubled in 2020 in view of the data on new inhabitants registered (4,247).

The town hall attributed this significant increase in registered inhabitants to the large foreign resident community in Marbella who, with just over 43,000 registered residents, account for approximately 30 per cent of the town’s census, among which Brits continue to be the nationality with the largest presence in the town.

For Marbella’s councillor for foreign residents, Remedios Bocanegra, Brexit was a key factor in the increase of British registrations, with people registering on the Padrón as to do so became a requirement of residency after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

According to experts in immigration, including Marbella lawyer, Ricardo Bocanegra, the pandemic has inevitably had an impact on the latest figures, with people unable to leave their countries and to travel to Spain, meaning foreigners have not been able to come to finish their registration procedures or renew them, so they have been automatically removed from the census.