E.g., 04/22/2024
E.g., 04/22/2024
Country Resource - Spain

Spain

ES
  • Population..............................................................................47,222,613 (2023 est.)
  • Population growth rate ..................................................................0.12% (2023 est.)
  • Birth rate.....................................................7.12 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)
  • Death rate................................................10.11 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)
  • Net migration rate...................................4.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)
  • Ethnic groups*..........................................Spanish 84.8%, Moroccan 1.7%, Romanian 1.2%, other 12.3% (2021 est.)

* Data represent population by country of birth

CIA World Factbook

Farmworkers in Murcia, Spain

Historically a country of emigration, Spain rapidly transitioned to become one of Europe’s major immigration destinations in just a few years. Remarkably, this evolution occurred with minimal political backlash, even as the country suffered through a crippling economic and labor crisis. This country profile examines the trends and policies that led to this astonishing development.

Recent Activity

A celebration for the Feast of San Gennaro in New York's Little Italy

One-tenth of all immigrants in the United States come from Europe, a vast decline from the mid-20th century, as migration within Europe has grown and more U.S. immigrants arrive from other destinations. This article provides an overview of contemporary European immigration to the United States, as a region and by top European countries of origin.

Farmworkers in Murcia, Spain

Historically a country of emigration, Spain rapidly transitioned to become one of Europe’s major immigration destinations in just a few years. Remarkably, this evolution occurred with minimal political backlash, even as the country suffered through a crippling economic and labor crisis. This country profile examines the trends and policies that led to this astonishing development.

A view of Barcelona.

Spain has an unconventional immigration system. The national government is primarily responsible for border control, granting legal status to migrants, and other issues, but integration is mostly handled by regional and local governments, allowing for some pioneering policies at the subnational level. This article explores what this system has meant for Catalonia and its capital, Barcelona, which have been considered to be a model throughout Europe.

A farmer in Spain stacks boxes of grapes.

Romanians comprise the second largest immigrant community in Spain. This population grew at a dramatic rate during the early 2000s, driven by a variety of economic, policy, and other factors. The number of Romanian immigrants peaked in 2012 and has steadily declined ever since. This article analyzes the drivers behind the growth and relative decline of this population and its role in the Spanish labor force.

A television with the words "Fake News."

Disinformation and misinformation about migrants, refugees, and minority groups adapts to the shifting news cycle while also appealing to people’s pre-existing convictions and current worries. Events such as the war in Ukraine act as a catalyst, enabling coordinated groups to grab people’s attention, stoke fears, and in some cases even dictate political discourse. This article traces the long history of conspiracy theories around immigrants and how they spread today.

Flags of the European Union fly outside of the European Parliament in Brussels.

Between Brexit and COVID-19, Europe’s 31-country zone of free movement has been profoundly tested. Still, the area has constantly evolved over the last 70 years, to include new groups of individuals who can freely move for work, study, or leisure, as well as cover larger geographic areas. This article examines the history and challenges to free movement, a crowning success of the European project.

RedGreg TrainofHopeLinz Flickr

The digital era offers opportunities for cities to improve access and outreach to residents, including immigrants and minority groups, through online tools and apps. This feature article explores ditigal-inclusion strategies in "smart" cities New York, London, and Barcelona, as well as the creative use of new technologies in response to the European refugee crisis.

The global recession has caused countries that once welcomed foreign workers by the tens and hundreds of thousands — particularly Spain — to rethink generous immigration policies as unemployment rates have risen.

Many countries relied on low-skilled immigrant workers during good times. But Japan, Spain, and the Czech Republic have recently introduced "pay-to-go" programs to reduce the number of unemployed immigrants. MPI's Kristen McCabe, Serena Yi-Ying Lin, and Hiroyuki Tanaka, and Piotr Plewa of the European University Institute examine these programs and the larger policy questions they raise.

The current economic downturn has made many destination countries cautious about welcoming permanent migrants, with some expressing the policy equivalent of buyer's remorse: paying too high a price for something no longer desired.

Pages

Cover image for Coordination Breakdown
Reports
March 2024

The story of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe is chiefly one of challenges to solidarity and coordination. Cross-border movement—even within Europe’s Schengen Area—ground to a halt, and countries took varied approaches to using travel measures in an attempt to slow the virus’s spread. This report explores the pandemic’s impacts on mobility to and within Europe, its challenges to European solidarity, and lessons for future public-health crises.

Cover image for Improving Stakeholder Coordination in Refugee Resettlement
Reports
June 2023

Many actors have a hand in refugee resettlement, including national and local governments, international organizations, and civil society. Strong coordination between these stakeholders is needed if resettlement programs are to operate smoothly, provide appropriate support to refugees, and potentially grow. This report explores common challenges to developing this type of coordination as well as strategies to address them.

Cover image for Challenge of Coordinating Border Management Assistance between Europe & the Maghreb
Reports
March 2022

To address cross-border challenges, the European Union and its Member States have increasingly partnered with neighboring countries, with those in the Maghreb region of northern Africa playing a particularly important role. This report examines the border security situation in the Maghreb and European efforts to work with Maghrebi partners to strengthen border management. It finds a mismatch in priorities stymies cooperation.

Cover image for Promoting the Inclusion of Europe’s Migrants and Minorities in Arts and Culture
Reports
March 2022

European cities are becoming ever more diverse. Yet migrants and minorities are often under-represented among mainstream cultural venues’ visitors, featured artists, and staff. This MPI Europe report examines strategies for improving the inclusion of migrant and minority communities in culture and the arts, with the aim of boosting integration outcomes, strengthening social cohesion, and making cultural institutions more vibrant.

Cover image for Taking the Long View: Options for Inclusive Post-Pandemic Labor Markets
Reports
August 2021

Even as COVID-19 vaccination campaigns have picked up speed in Europe, economic uncertainty remains. Recently arrived refugees, migrant women, and other immigrants who faced labor market challenges before the pandemic have in many cases seen these challenges grow. This report explores the impact of the public-health crisis on migrants’ labor market integration and options for building inclusive pandemic recovery strategies.

coverthumb_covid19 global mobility 2020
Reports
April 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically curtailed cross-border mobility in 2020, affecting travelers and migrants around the world. This report presents a first-of-its-kind analysis of the many thousands of travel restrictions and border closures imposed by governments to curb the spread of the virus. It examines how these policies evolved, varied across countries and regions, and what these trends may mean for the future of international movement.

coverthumb_social innovation covid19
Reports
September 2020

Since COVID-19 hit cities across Europe, many have struggled with how to sustain support for migrant inclusion in a time of social-distancing orders and likely budget cuts. This report explores how municipalities and their partners used social innovation to meet the challenges of the 2015–16 spike in arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants, and how those experiences can help localities weather the pandemic and put communities at the center of recovery efforts.

European Cities on the Front Line: New and Emerging Governance Models for Migrant Inclusion
Reports
May 2020

As migration transforms cities across Europe—both large metropolises and small cities—there is a thriving debate about how to support immigrants’ integration into communities, labor markets, and health and education systems. This MPI Europe-International Organization for Migration report explores promising approaches that make the most of local governance tools to optimize migrant inclusion, even in the face of challenges.

Coverthumb SVR Final Report FINAL
Reports
October 2019

As EU Member States struggle to deliver on the European Union's call to expand channels for foreign workers, they should focus more on attracting the middle- and low-skilled third-country nationals needed by the labor market yet for whom few opportunities for admission exist. They also would do well to consider their migration policies in light of labor market, foreign policy, and development objectives, rather than as a means to reduce irregular migration, this report cautions.

Coverthumb MPIE SpainMigrationPathways
Reports
April 2019

A relatively new destination for immigrants, Spain has developed a labor migration system that builds on longstanding relationships with countries outside the European Union and that actively involves employers, trade unions, and regional governments. This report examines how this legal framework has evolved in recent decades, and how it could serve as a model for EU policymakers in admitting non-EU workers.

Pages

coverthumb_brexit pandemic
Policy Briefs
September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic hit just weeks after the United Kingdom formally left the European Union, delaying plans to implement the withdrawal agreement’s provisions on citizens’ rights. This policy brief assesses the progress countries have made in setting up systems to adjust the status of mobile EU and UK nationals, as well as steps countries can take to make up for lost time.

Seasonal Worker Programs in Europe: Promising Practices and Ongoing Challenges
Policy Briefs
February 2020

Seasonal worker programs in the European Union have a long history, but have yet to find the sweet spot of working for migrants, employers, and countries of destination and origin alike. This policy brief explores some of the challenges common to these programs—drawing on examples in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand—and highlights promising practices.

Coverthumb BrexpatsPensioners
Policy Briefs
November 2018

As Brexit approaches, British pensioners in the EU-27 face a series of issues beyond those of the wider British population of the EU-27. This issue brief explores the diversity of the pensioner population and unique challenges ranging from whether UK state pensions will rise with the cost of living, to tax, health care, and access to social assistance issues, before considering key policy questions and recommendations for both EU and UK policymakers.

featured_migrationandrecession[1]
Books
June 2011

This edited volume addresses the impact of the economic crisis in seven major immigrant-receiving countries: the United States, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.