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How many Britons live in Spain in 2023?

The Local Spain
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How many Britons live in Spain in 2023?
Over half of the total number of UK nationals in Spain - 211,274 people to be exact - have not exchanged their old EU residency residency certificate for the TIE. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP)

Many thought that Brexit would cause a mass exodus of UK nationals from Spain but the reality hasn't been so simple, as the latest immigration and residency stats from the Spanish government suggest.


Despite Brexit making it considerably harder for many UK nationals to move to España as non-EU nationals, Spain's British population continues to grow.

How many Britons reside in Spain in 2023?

According to immigration observatory data, as of December 31st 2022 (the latest data available) there were 412,040 Britons who are residents in Spain.
That is 4,412 more than the previous year and represents a 1 percent rise.
However, according to Spain's national statistics body (INE), as of December 31st 2022 there were 293,171 UK nationals residents in Spain.
This discrepancy is normal and may be explained by the fact that INE primarily uses local census information from the town halls (padrón address registrations, birth, death certificates etc) rather than migration documents.

Britons in Spain are older than most

According to the data, the average age of the resident foreign population in Spain is almost 40 years old and there is, generally speaking, slightly more men than women.

The sociological profile of British residents in Spain may be unsurprising to many. The average age of Brits in Spain is considerably older, at 55 years old, and much higher than other large non-European migrant groups such as Moroccans (median age of 34 years).


British residents cluster together

It might not come as a surprise to discover that in early 2023 the biggest number of Brits in Spain lived in the southern region of Andalusia, with a total of 92,180.

This was followed closely by the Valencia region with a total of 87,699, and then the Canary Islands with 29,631. 

READ ALSO: MAP: Where do Spain's British residents live in 2023?

Other autonomous communities with a sizeable British population are Catalonia with 24,689, the Balearic Islands with 19,569, Murcia with 17,562 and the Spanish capital of Madrid with 11,831.

The number of UK nationals living in other Spanish regions in 2023 is as follows:

Galicia: 2,373

The Basque Country: 1,648

Asturias: 1,060

Aragón: 1,055

Castilla y León: 1,033

Castilla-La Mancha: 968

Cantabria: 640

Extremadura: 507

Navarra: 421

La Rioja: 214 

READ MORE: The places in Spain where Brits outnumber locals


Popular provinces

Meanwhile, the latest data from the Padrón register also shows where the majority of Brits live on a provincial level. And unsurprisingly the provinces housing the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol are the most popular.

Of Spain's 50 provinces, Alicante in the Valencia region comes top once again with 76,739 Brits. This coastal province is of course home to popular spots among Brits such as Benidorm, Torrevieja and Jávea, where those from Blighty represent anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the total population.

The Spanish province with the second biggest British population in 2023 is Málaga province with 56,019. Similarly, places like Benahavís, Marbella or Estepona have a sizeable British representation. 

In third place are the Balearic Islands, which isn't classified as a province but rather a region made up of four main islands, with Mallorca housing the bulk of the 20,000 Brits who live in the archipelago. 

Around half have swapped their residency cards for TIEs

A new study by Spain's immigration observatory has revealed just how many Brits are yet to exchange their residency documents following Brexit.

The figures from July 2020 to June 2023 show that 159,604 UK nationals successfully exchanged their old residency documents for a TIE, the card that enshrines their residency rights as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

This means over half of the total number of UK nationals in Spain - 211,274 people to be exact - have not exchanged their old EU residency residency certificate for the TIE.


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