As we reported a year ago, the Spanish population’s fertility rate is amongst the lowest in Europe. The declining birth rate prompted the Spanish government to appoint Edelmira Barreria, a demographics expert and senator in the Galician parliament, to the position of trying to boost the country’s pregnancy rates and halt any population decline. Now, it seems as if Spain’s “sex czar” has so far failed to change Spanish infertility: in 2017 the number of registered Spanish nationals declined by 20,000, the first time in 20 years that a drop in the number of this group has occurred.
However, despite Spaniards not having enough children to ensure natural population growth, the total population living in Spain has increased slightly in 2017: by 0.3 per cent to a shade under 46.7 million people. This slight increase to the total population numbers last year reversed the trend of the four years prior which had seen Spain’s population drop. It can be put down to Spain becoming once again an appealing place for people to migrate to, especially for those from Central and South America. (Previously, the economic crisis in Spain had been a major dampener on others ardour to emigrate there.)
Thus, in 2017, the number of registered foreigners grew by 3.2 per cent to 4.719 million and most of these come from outside of the EU. While 37.7 per cent of registered foreigners in Spain come from elsewhere in the EU, 59.5 per cent arrived from outside of the European Union. (But how can these two numbers not equal 100 per cent!? Surely you either come from the EU or you don’t come from there? Or is the EU not bound by the law of the excluded middle?) The largest non-EU source countries of foreign migrants are Morocco and Romania. While the image of hordes of British retirees escaping to the sun of southern Spain comes to me naturally when I think of foreigners living in Spain, only five per cent of the foreign population in Spain comes from that sceptred isle. But the expatriate communities in Spain that are growing the most quickly are Venezuelans, Colombians and Hondurans, reversing the situation somewhat of the last few years where Spanish America was an attractive prospect for Spaniards, not the other way around. So while the Spanish population is ever so slightly growing, it is, like so many other western nations, entirely dependent on immigration to achieve this.