Spain’s Population Continues to Shrink as Foreigners Leave

Spain’s population decreased for the second year in a row in 2013 as more foreigners left the country, new data reveals.

Overall, a total of 291,041 people arrived in Spain last year from abroad, while 547,890 left, according to according to the National Statistics Institute (INE) analysis. The negative migratory imbalance of 256,849 people represented an 80.2 per cent increase from 2012.

The population decline marked the first time since the agency started tracking data in 1971 that the population has decreased in two consecutive years, El Pais reports.

The number of foreigners living in the country fell 7.8 per cent in 2013, to 4.7 million, a decline attributed to emigration and the number of foreigners who stayed in the country but acquired Spanish nationality status. Only Russia, the United States, Italy and the Dominican Republic reported a positive “migratory balance” – more arrived than left – in 2013.

For the property industry, the decline in population is a very real issue. The numbers may be small and statistically irrelevant, considering the property market is still depressed, but fewer people means fewer potential buyers. And it is certainly one more data point to consider when evaluating the prospects for a quick recovery in the market.

From 2012 to 2013, emigration grew by 22.7 per cent, while immigration decreased 4.3 per cent. Spain’s total population now stands at 46.5 million, according to the report.

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