Alejandro Sánchez Alarcón
Spain's population will be close to 54 million in 15 years, an increase of five million from now
Population: Data special

Spain's population will be close to 54 million in 15 years, an increase of five million from now

The growth is entirely due to the arrival of immigrants, who in 50 years' time will account for four out of every ten residents, more than double the current number

Alfonso Torices


Tuesday, 25 June 2024, 18:59

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Spain's population will be close to 54 million in 15 years' time, by the end of 2038, and will continue to increase, albeit more slowly, to 54.6 million by 2074 according to population projections released on Monday 24 June by Spain's INE national statistics institute.

These calculations, if accurate, indicate that Spain, which today has around 48.6 million inhabitants, will gain just over five million inhabitants in the next 15 years.

This population increase will be down to the large annual influx of immigrants, a phenomenon that is likely to continue in the coming decades. Spain's national growth (the balance between births and deaths) is predicted to continue to decrease as has been the case over the last decade, with considerably more deaths than births.

In fact, according to the INE calculations, those living in Spain but born abroad will make up 39 per cent of the country's population in fifty years' time, one in four of the population. This proportion is just double the current demographic weight of immigrants, who make up around 18 per cent of the population: 8.5 million residents.

The estimates are based on a projection that in the next five years the increase in the population of immigrants will be around 3.5 million and that in fifteen years, by 2038, they will have risen by seven million. Then by 2072 they will be almost 17 million more than now - around 25 million.

The current very high flow of net arrivals, close to 800,000 per year, will not be maintained, but the migratory balance will remain above half a million per year until the end of this decade, and in fifteen years it will be around 280,000 net arrivals per year, rising to an average of 300,000 in 2072.

The projections made by the INE expect the progressive ageing of the population to continue for at least the next three decades. It will reach its peak in 2055, with 30.5 per cent of Spaniards aged over 65. The proportion in any case, with a slight downward trend, would remain almost unchanged in the following two decades, since in 2072, the last year of the projection, the INE calculates that 30.3 per cent of Spaniards will be over 65 years of age.

The INE calculates that the life expectancy of Spanish women in 2073 will be 90 and 86 for men, between four and five years more than today

In addition to the low birth rate, Spain's high life expectancy, 80.74 years for men and 86.2 years for women, is set to increase further over the coming years.

The INE estimates that by 2036, Spanish men will live an average of 82.62 years and Spanish women 87.52 years, between 1.3 and 2 years longer than today. By 2073 the average will be 86 years for men and 90 years for women, with an increase of five years for men and four years for women.

Twenty more dependency points

Ageing and high life expectancy explain two other striking factors. The first will be the sharp rise in the Spanish dependency ratio, the percentage resulting from adding those under 16 and those over 65 and dividing it by Spaniards aged 16 to 64 (the active population).

If today we are at a percentage of dependents (children and retired people) of just over half (53%), in 15 years the proportion of dependents will have risen by eight points (to 61%). It will peak in three decades (75%) and will then stabilise with a downward trend (74% in 2074), 21 points more than today.

The other striking factor will be the rapid growth in the number of people over the age of 100 in Spain. Today there are around 15,000, but in fifteen years it is estimated that they will have tripled in number and in 50 years' time they will have multiplied by fifteen, to around 220,000.

The INE also released another statistical projection on Monday, which describes how Spanish households will evolve over the next 15 years, until 2039. The INE calculates that the number of Spanish households will reach 23 million, with a 19% increase and 3.7 more cohabitation units than today.

But perhaps the most striking fact, driven by the ageing of the population and the increasingly varied family units, is the increase in single-person households, which would in fact become the main form of household in Spain, with 33.5% of the total. This means reaching 7.7 households with a single resident, an increase of 43% and two million more properties. Moreover, 14.3% of the entire Spanish population would live alone, three points more than the 11% who do so today.

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