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The Incredibly Shrinking Spanish Population

Barcelona city viewSpain’s population will steadily decrease over the next 50 years, losing 5.6 million people by 2064, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) predicts.

Not only will there be fewer citizens, they will be older and more likely to be living alone. By 2064, 38.7 percent of the population will over 65, compared to 18.2 percent now, and the number of people living alone will increase by 38 percent in the next 15 years.

The major culprit is declining birth rates, which have been falling for years. At the same the number of people leaving is increasing at a greater rate than the growth of immigration into Spain.

People are also living longer, which helps explain the aging population. The number of people over 100 years old is expected to increase from 13,551 to 372,000 by 2064.


On the surface, this is disturbing news for the property industry. A declining population means fewer home buyers and a sluggish domestic market in the years ahead.

But another report released this week by INE offers a distinctively different twist. According to the INE, the number of households in Spain will increase by 1 million homes in the next 15 years, to 19.2 million households, a 5.2 percent increase from current levels.

In many ways, households is a more relevant statistic for the real estate market than the population. There may be fewer people in Spain, but demand for homes will still increase, the household report suggests.

The biggest household increases will be in the communities of Madrid, Murcia and Andalucía.

The INE also forecasts the average size of the household would decrease from the current 2.52 persons to 2.34 persons per household in 2029. The number of one-person households is expected to grow by 27 percent in the next 15 years. This will also impact the types of homes purchased, as smaller households look for smaller homes.

Households chart (1024 x 455)

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