Saturday, April 28, 2012

Britons in Spain

There's a Spanish Statistical Office. Not surprisingly it collects statistics and analyses them. They can tell you everything from the Spanish Retail Price Index to the Hotel Occupancy Rates. They publish their findings on their website at which is available in English.

The Spanish Statistical Office working from the padron, the municipal register of inhabitants, says that as of 1st January 2011 there are 366,379 Britons living in Spain. As a comparison in 1996 there were 82,000 of us. The British Foreign Office reckons that there are about a million Britons who live, more or less permanently, in Spain. For the sake of this article the difference between the UK and Spanish figures doesn't matter much because it's the comparisons that I want to point out. Just to make it easier to read I have sometimes rounded the figures up or down always following the principle of rounding up/down as explained to me by my maths teacher Mr Ralph in about 1964. If you check my maths and find it wanting maybe we can go and have a word with Mr Ralph together.

The first thing is that we Britons make up about 0.8% of the total population of Spain which stands at just over 47 million. That makes us a sizeable immigrant group. In fact, according to Wikipedia we're the fourth biggest foreign grouping after Moroccans, Romanians and Ecuadorians.

The second thing is that we're a gregarious bunch. There are over 126,000 of us in Alicante province which makes up about 4% of all the Spanish land area and has a population below 2 million people. There are 103,000 in Andalucia (mainly in Malaga province) and 22,000 in Murcia. There's also a big population on the Balearic and Canary Islands of around 62,000 and sizeable numbers in the rest of Valencia and Cataluña.

Compare those figures with Madrid where we're just 9,000 amongst a total population of about 6.5 million. Castilla y Leon, a region that makes up nearly 20% of the Spanish land area, has only 800 Britons from a total population of 2.5 million. There are more Britons in Hondon de las Nieves (833), population 3,000, than in all nine provinces of Castilla y Leon. From those figures you can appreciate why it is that we are so visible in Alicante and it has nothing to do with wearing socks with sandals. As a percentage of the Alicantino population we're over 6.5%.

I have a house in Pinoso. The database says that I am one of 617 Britons from a population of 7,909, nearly 8% of the total. For a while I lived in Ciudad Rodrigo in Salamanca, population 13,777, where there were two Britons registered on the padron. As a percentage that comes out at 0.0145% which is a bit different to Hondon de los Frailes where 503 Britons make up nearly 42% of the total population of 1,200.

In some places we're much more hidden. In Elche for instance there are 1,070 Britons but that's just 0.46% of the 231,000 population whilst in Sax half the number (547 Britons) represent 5.4% of the population of 10,100.

Apologies for all the figures and percentages but I thought you might be interested.

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