Spain ethnic groups percentages: Spain Demographics Profile
Largest Ethnic Minorities In Spain
People walk the street of Barcelona, Spain. Editorial credit: Valeri Potapova / Shutterstock.com.
Spain is a European country with a population of 46.4 million. Approximately 89.9% of the population is of Spanish ethnicity, and 10.1% are of a foreign ethnicity. Many of these ethnic minorities have recently come to Spain during a period of increased immigration. Others have been in the country for several generations. This article takes a look at some of the largest ethnic minorities in Spain.
Two groups are tied as the largest ethnic minority groups in Spain, those being Romanians and Moroccans. They each make up 1.7% of the population. Most Romanians came to Spain from Romania, an eastern European country, in search of economic opportunity. By 2010, the population had reached 900,000. In 2011, the prime minister extended a ban on the free movement of the Romanian people in order to prevent them from coming to Spain for work. The ban did not apply to documented Romanian immigrants. This political move was in response to an already high unemployment rate in the country. By 2012 and with the economic crisis in full effect, many Romanians fled the country. Today, the population estimate is at 730,340.
Spain once had an open-door immigration policy with Morocco. A such, Moroccan citizens did not require a visa to enter the country. Many Moroccans came for seasonal work, particularly in agriculture and industry. That relationship changed, however, in 1985 when Spain implemented a new visa law. The new law was strict and did not offer a plan for permanent residence. The population of documented Moroccans was 752,695 in 2008. Greatly concerned over their stagnating economy, in September of the same year the Spanish government offered financial compensation to unemployed immigrants if they would cancel their residency and leave the country. The policy was unsuccessful and rather than decrease, the Moroccan population had actually increased 8.8% by 2011.
People of Ecuadorian ethnicity make up 0.7% of the Spanish population. After the Latin American Debt Crisis of the 1980’s, and another financial crisis in Ecuador during the 1990’s, mass numbers of Ecuadorians sought economic refuge in Spain. In 1998, the country had less than 10,000 immigrants from Ecuador. This number increased to 200,000 by 2002 and 500,000 by 2005. Desperate for opportunity, many of the immigrants arrived on tourist visas which they overstayed, looking for work. With such a large number of undocumented immigrants, Spain decided to offer them amnesty. In 2004 and 2005, approximately 140,000 Ecuadorians documented their presence.
In 2006, estimates suggested that 5.5 million British nationals were living overseas. Approximately 751,000 of them are living in Spain, making up 0.7% of the population there. British migration to Spain increased substantially after 1990. The recent vote for Britain to leave the European Union, known in popular culture as the Brexit, left some British immigrants worried for their futures in Spain. Those fears have been calmed by the Vienna Convention of 1969 which protects them with a “grandfathered in” status, meaning they would not lose their previous residency rights.
Other ethnic minorities living in Spain include Colombians, comprising 0.5% of the Spanish population, followed by Bolivians (0.4%), Italians (0.4%), and Chinese (0.4%).
|Rank||Minority Ethnic Groups in Spain||Share of Total Population in Spain|
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Diversity in Spain | Abroad Guide
Welcome to Spain
The Spain Destination Guide will provide a historic overview, scholarships, health and safety tips and identity-specific resources to ensure students feel prepared with insight and resources for their global experience in Spain.
The information shared below is a bird eye’s view and meant to provide some country-specific context. We encourage students to conduct further research and chat with relevant points of contact including advisors, program leaders, international student services at the host campus, internship coordinators or peers who have traveled to Italy, to gain a greater understanding of their host country and/or city.
Home to the second most widely spoken language in the world, and once the most powerful country in the world, Spain had its share of ups and downs throughout history leaving an everlasting influence across the globe. Today, Spain is a popular travel destination for students due to its architecture, clothing, music, and dance. Spain still carries a great amount of influence in Europe and the rest of the world. Its fashion, music, art and science are constantly evolving and helping redefine the standards of today. Madrid and Barcelona annually stand at the top of the list of most visited cities in Europe. Spain’s epic history, charismatic citizens and eye candy around every corner enchant the hearts of new visitors year after year.
You will never run out of things to do while studying abroad in Spain. From the historical architecture in Barcelona such as the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, to the countless art museums, wineries and restaurants, you will find new and interesting ways to learn and get connected with Spanish culture and history. Also, no trip to Spain would be complete without indulging in the nightlife, especially in Ibiza, which is legendary.
Best Places to Visit In Spain
Britannica — Spain
CIA.gov — Spain
The Guardian — Spain
Culture Trip — Spain
Cities & Education
Studying abroad in Spain offers the opportunity to learn and immerse yourself in one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Spain also has breathtaking natural beauty, from picturesque mountains to pristine beaches. Also, its proximity to the rest of Europe and North Africa makes it a crossroads for a number of cultures making your experience even richer. Spain also boasts some of the best nightlife scenes in the world and is consistently ranked as one of the countries that American students study in most.
Spain has 45 universities featured in theTimes Higher Education World University Ranking 2020. The most highly ranked and popular institutions are based in Madrid and Barcelona as well as in the smaller cities of Seville and Granada.
Events & Tourism
Spain has many celebrations based on historical moments, culture and more. See the resources below to learn more about the celebrations that may take place in the city you are visiting.
The Best Events in Spain
Culture Trip — Spain
Spain hosts many historical sites, seven of which are named UNESCO World Heritage. From Madrid, Barcelona to Seville, students can admire staple landmarks that showcase historic milestones and significance.
Top 5 Historical Sites in Spain
11 Breathtaking Places to Visit in Spain Before You Die
Diversity & Inclusion Climate
Spain is the third most popular destination for U.S. students studying abroad. According to the Institute of International Education (IIE) Open Doors Report 2018, almost 31,230 students from the United States participated in a global program in Spain. Engulfing its Iberian neighbor Portugal, Spain has coasts along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, with the Strait of Gibraltar to the south separating it from Morocco. In addition to multiple coasts of ocean and sea for your to enjoy, Spain is mountainous (the second-most in Europe) to fulfill all your outdoor adventures. Spain’s mountainsides, beaches, pastoral countryside and cosmopolitan cities all beckon international visitors.
U.S. students are attracted to study abroad programs in Spain for a variety of reasons, particularly the study of its language, as well as business and international relations, among other subjects. As with other visitors, students seek out Spain for its architecture, culture and nightlife, not to mention quick access to Western Europe. Higher education institutions in Spain enjoy good international reputations. There are a variety of options there for students across disciplines, depending on the study abroad program. Although Castilian Spanish is the national language and many Spaniards also speak some English, regional dialects are still very pronounced in Spain. Some provinces, such as Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia and the Basque country, have their own dialect as the official language. Despite this language variety, even students with low proficiency levels in Spanish should be able to navigate life in Spain, as there is a robust infrastructure for accommodating international visitors.
The racial and ethnic makeup of Spain is becoming just as diverse as its languages. In 2017, the total number of Spanish Muslims came to 834,000 – a number that rises to around 1.95 million when the additional 1.1 million Muslim migrants are factored in, predominantly from Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal and other countries according to
While the Spanish government does not record statistics on the ethnic and racial background of its population, it records the population of non-citizens in Spain, which in 2018 equaled to 4.7 million, around 10% of the population. Migrants largely come from the following countries: Morocco 769,100, Romania 673,000, UK 240,900, China 215,800, Colombia 165,600, Ecuador 135,000, Bulgaria 123,700, Germany 110,900 and Ukraine 106,800.
Spain has the largest Roma population in Western Europe, numbering approximately 725,00 – 750,000 and there is a very small Jewish community comprising approximately 40,000 people, living mainly in Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga as well in the parts of Ceuta and Melilla.
Reference: Minority Rights Organization
Note: These tips are intended to serve as an overview and are not exhaustive. Be sure to research your destination thoroughly to prepare for your experience abroad. Data acquired via the Cia.gov Work Factbook
Population in Spain:
49,331,076 (July 2018 est.)
Majority Roman Catholic
Staying Healthy and Safe in Spain
You cannot always predict the hiccups that may occur during your time abroad, but taking the proper measures to ensure your health and safety in Spain will eliminate or lessen the extremities of any unplanned situations.
Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in Spain. Students participating in a study abroad program of any duration are required to have international health insurance, usually included in the program costs and provided by your academic institution or program provider. If you are traveling independently, research international options available to you within your current health care provider. You can also look into international health insurance companies that provide various plans and choose the one that best suits the type and duration of your travels in Spain.
In the case of an emergency, be sure this information is easily accessible by storing your insurance card in a transportable and secure place, creating a copy of your health insurance card or storing the information in your phone. It is also helpful to be aware of nearby hospitals, clinics and pharmacies in case you are in need of these services or resources. The Spain emergency number is 112.
Spain is a fairly safe place with a relatively low crime rate, however no matter where you are in the world, whether it is your hometown or a new city, it is important to be alert and practice awareness of your surroundings. Most travelers can expect a safe experience in Spain. Crimes to be aware of mostly involve pickpocketing and theft, which usually take place near areas heavily populated by tourists, generally in larger cities such as Barcelona and Madrid. Here are a few quick tips to ensure your safety during your time abroad:
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Leave valuable items at home whenever possible and only travel with your necessities
- Avoid being flashy or careless with valuable items
- Ensure your bags and pockets are tight and completely zipped
- Have a travel partner when possible
At Diversity Abroad, we acknowledge that experiences can vary by identities and others’ perceptions of them. To access identity-based resources regarding health and safety view the Diversity & Inclusion Guides to Spain below.
CDC — Spain
The US Department of State — Spain
Reviews — Best Travel Insurance
Funding and Scholarship Opportunities
There are many scholarships to fund your education abroad experience. Here is a list of Diversity Abroad scholarships available for study in this country, some of which can be applied to other types of international experiences:
Diversity Abroad Overseas Ambassador Scholarship
Diversity Abroad Consortium Summer Scholarship
Diversity Abroad AIFS Achievement Scholarship
For more scholarships, visit our Scholarships page.
Population of Spain
Spain population counter
46 470 948
22 955 404
|Male population (49.4%)|
23 515 544
|Female population (50.6%)|
|Born this year|
|Died this year|
|Migrated this year|
|Population growth this year|
|Population growth today|
Source : United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs: Population Division .
COVID-19 Daily Statistics
The data presented on this site do not reflect the real migration pattern, due to the restriction of movement,
introduced by most countries of the world due to the pandemic of coronavirus infection COVID-1
- Population counter
- Population in 2022
- Demographics in 2021
- Population density
- Religious beliefs
- Age-sex pyramid
- Dependency ratio
- Child load factor
- Pension load factor
- Population history
- Population forecast
Facts about the population of Spain
|Population for today|
|31 (0.58% of the Earth population)||505 370 km 2|
|92. 0 on km 2|
|0.98 (22 955 404 men at 23 515 544 women)|
(Number of people calculated by Countrymeters (countrymeters.info)
based on latest data published by UN Population Division)
Population of Spain in 2022
In 2022, the population of Spain will decrease by -96,364 and at the end of the year will be 46,456,140. Natural population growth will be positive and will amount to 22,811 people. For the entire year, approximately 432,938 children will be born and 410,128 people will die. If the level of external migration remains at the level of the previous year,
then, due to migration reasons, the population will change by -119,174 people. That is, the total number of people leaving the country (emigrants) will prevail over the number of people
entering the country for the purpose of long-term stay (immigrants).
Dynamics of population change in Spain in 2022
Below are the coefficients of change in the population of Spain, calculated by us for 2022:
The rate of population decline in Spain in 2022 will be 264 persons per day.
Population of Spain 2021
At the end of 2021, the population of Spain was estimated to be 46,552,504 people. In 2021, the population of Spain decreased by approximately 96,564 people. Considering that the population of Spain at the beginning of the year was estimated at 46,649,068 people, the annual increase was -0.21%.
Here are the main demographics of Spain for 2021:
- Births: 433 836 people
- Dead: 410,978 people
- Natural increase of population: 22,858 people
- Migration population growth: -119 422 people
- Men: 22,995,690 (As of December 31, 2021)
- Women: 23,556,814 (As of December 31, 2021)
Population growth 1952 — 2022
Population density in Spain
According to the United Nations Department of Statistics, the total area of Spain
is 505,370 square kilometers.
Total area refers to the land area and the area of all water surfaces of a state within international borders.
Population density is calculated as the ratio of the total population living in a given territory to the total area of this territory.
As of 1 January 2022, the population of Spain was estimated to be 46,552,504 people.
Thus, the population density of Spain is 92.1 people per square kilometer.
Religion in Spain
|Religion||Number of followers||Percentage of total population|
|Christianity||36 572 826||78.7 %|
|Non -religious and atheists||875 997|
Source: Pew Research Center. The Global Religious Landscape
Number of followers ( 05.11.2022 — Countrymeters.info
Population distribution by age groups
According to our calculations, as of the beginning of 2022, the population of Spain had the following age distribution:
In absolute numbers:
- 7 051 308 people under 15 (men:
3,630,630 / women: 3,420,678)
- 31,536,528 people over 14 and under 65 (men:
15 967 043 / women: 15 569 485)
- 7,964,668 people over 64 (men:
3 375 057 / women: 4 589 611)
We have prepared a simplified model of the age-sex pyramid, in which only three age groups are presented, the data on which were given above:
Note: The scale of the pyramid differs from the absolute values given above because each age group contains a different number of years.
As we can see, the age pyramid of Spain has a regressive or decreasing type. This type of pyramid is usually found in highly developed countries.
In such countries, the level of health care is usually quite high, as is the level of education of citizens.
Due to relatively low mortality and birth rates, the population has a high life expectancy.
All these factors, along with many others, lead to the aging of the population (increase the average age of the population).
Source: Data in this section are based on the latest publications of the United Nations Department of Statistics in the field of demographic and social statistics.
Dependency ratio shows the burden on society and the economy from the non-working population (dependent population).
The non-working-age population refers to the total population under 15 years of age and the population over 64 years of age.
The age of the working-age population (the productive part of the population), respectively, is between 15 and 65 years.
The dependency ratio directly reflects the financial costs of social policy in the state.
For example, with an increase in this coefficient, expenditures on the construction of educational institutions, social protection, healthcare, pension payments, etc. should be increased.
Total dependency ratio
Total dependency ratio is calculated as the ratio of the dependent part of the population to the able-bodied or productive part of the population.
For Spain, the total dependency ratio is 47.6%.
The value of 47.6% is relatively low.
It shows that the working-age population is more than twice the size of the non-working-age population.
This attitude creates a relatively low social burden on society.
Potential replacement rate
Potential replacement rate (child load ratio) is calculated as the ratio of the population below working age to the working age population.
The potential replacement rate for Spain is 22.4%.
Pension load factor
Pension load factor is calculated as the ratio of the population above the working age to the working age population.
The pension burden ratio in Spain is 25.3%.
Source: Data in this section are based on the latest publications of the United Nations Department of Statistics in the field of demographic and social statistics
Life expectancy is one of the most important demographic indicators.
It shows the average number of years of a person’s life ahead.
That is, the number of years that a person can theoretically live, provided that the current birth and death rates remain unchanged throughout a person’s life.
As a rule, life expectancy is understood as life expectancy at birth, that is, at the age of 0 years.
Average life expectancy at birth (for both sexes) in Spain is 81.2 years (years).
This is above the world average life expectancy, which is around 71 years
(according to the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs).
The average life expectancy of men at birth is 78.2 years (years).
Female life expectancy at birth — 84.4 years (years).
Literacy of the population
According to our calculations in Spain, about 38,749,427 people over the age of 15 can read and write in any language. This is 98.1% of the total adult population.
The adult population in this case refers to all people over 15 years of age.
Accordingly, about 751,769 people are still illiterate.
Adult male literacy rate is 98.75% (19099 550 people).
242 550 people are illiterate.
The female adult literacy rate is 97.47% (19,649,877 people).
509 219 people are illiterate.
The youth literacy rate is 99.72% and 99.77% for men and women respectively.
The overall youth literacy rate is 99.74%.
The concept of youth in this case covers the population aged 15 to 24 inclusive.
Source: Data for Spanish population literacy
based on the latest data published by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (retrieved March 13, 2016)
Spain historical population (1951 — 2022)
Data shown as of 1 January of the respective year.
Spain population history
|1951||28 145 293||N/A %|
|1952||28 309 817||0. 58 %|
|1953||28 710 080||0.74 %|
|1955||28 934 149||0.78 %|
|1956||29 169 896||0.81 %|
|1957||29 417 894||0.85 %|
|1958||29 678 569||0.89 %|
|1959||29 955 116||1961||30 567 376||1.05 %|
|1962||30 903 984||1.10 %|
|1963||31 255 590||1.14 %|
|1964||31 613 334||1.14 %|
|1965||31 970 553||1.13 %|
|1966||1967 9000 9000 9000 9000 662 303||1. 06 %|
|1968||33 000 404||1.04 %|
|1969||33 344 661||1.0||34 077 183||1.11 %|
|1972||1.14 %||1973||34 868 49000||35 274 607||1.16 %|
|1975||35 679 478||1.15 %|
|1976||36 079 065||1.12 %|
|1977||36 473 362||1.09 %|
|1978||36 855 121||1.05 %|
|1979||37 215 029|
|19000 9000 37 543 356|
|1981||37 836 209||0.78 %|
|1982||38 091 804||0.68 %|
|1983||0. 49 %|
|1985||38 660 890||0.42 %|
|1||38 795 249|| 19000 19000 9000 9000
|1988||38 996 818||0.23 %|
|1989||39 078 949||0.21 %|
|1990||39 160 885||0.21 %|
|1991||39 251 199||0.23 %|
|39 355 272||0.27 %||1993||39 472 794||19000 19000 19000 19000 19000 19000 19000 19000 1994||39 597 422||0.32 %|
|1995||39 724 269||0.32 %|
|1996||39 848 520||0.31 %|
|1997||39 972 643||0.31 %|
|40 119 107||0. 37 %|
|1999||40 329 056|
|2001||41 074 121||1.07 %|
|2002||41 621 978|
|2005||43 666 652||1.66 %|
|2008||45 750 689||1.48 %|
|2009||46 328 304||1.26 %|
|2010||46 758 716||0.93 %|
|2011||47 008 256||0. 53 %|
|47 073 593||0.14 %||46 996 262 9000.0.16 % 9000 % 9000 % 9000 %|
|46 853 613||-0.30.30 %|
|2015||46 724 487||.28 %|
|2018||46 670 331||0.06 %|
All data in this table are given as of January 1 of the relevant year.
Population forecast (2020-2100)
|2020||46,459 218||N/A %|
|2025||46 306 823||-0. 33 %|
|2030 9000||46 115 131||.41 %|
|2035||45 860 815||20000 9000 9000 91||–0.70 %|
|2045||45 079 686||-1.01 %|
|2060||42 272 219||-2.68 %|
|2065||41 025 20000 9000 —2.95 %||38 858 207||-2.47 %|
|2080||38 148 868||-1.83 %||2085||37 273 840||-1.04 %|
|2095||36 859 898|