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Catalonia welcomed more immigrants than ever in 2019

Over 200,000 arrived, with over 40% coming from America, as almost 90,000 migrants left the country


24 September 2020 01:55 PM


ACN | Barcelona

Catalonia welcomed more immigrants last year than any other previous one since the records of the Catalan statistics institute began in 1998.

In 2019, 203,843 people settled in Catalonia coming from outside Spain, roughly 15% more than in 2018.

Almost 42% of the new residents in Catalonia came from America (counting both the northern and southern parts of the continent), with 15% traveling from the EU and around 13% from Africa. Some 10% came from Asia and Oceania, and almost 5% from the non-EU European countries, with the rest having an unknown origin.

Regarding the ages, some 77,000 out of the roughly 200,000 migrants are between 14 and 29, over a third of the total (38%). The second-largest age range is 35 to 44, with some 36,000 arrivals (18%).

The figures, released on Wednesday, also show that 87,491 migrants coming from outside Spain left Catalonia in 2019 – this means that the net migration was 116,352, around 18% more than in 2018.

Yet, the net migration was higher in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, with 2005 as peak at 136,306.

On the contrary, the amount of people from the rest of Spain leaving Catalonia after having migrated (54,834) was slightly higher than those who came (52,379), something that also happened in 2018 and in the years 2004 to 2013 uninterruptedly.

All in all, the net migration counting those from the rest of Spain and those from abroad was 113,897 people last year.

265,000 change municipality

The figures released also showed that 265,466 people changed municipality in 2019.

One of the figures that stand out is the fact that 14,731 people left Barcelonès, the county entailing Barcelona and four other densely populated municipalities.

Maresme, just north of Barcelonès, was the county welcoming more new residents coming from the rest of the country, 2,419.


  • Some young migrants in a foster house in Caldes de Malavella in March 2019 (by Aleix Freixas)

  • Some young migrants in a foster house in Caldes de Malavella in March 2019 (by Aleix Freixas)