Foreign-born residents make up 22% of the Canary Islands population

Spain is among the top EU countries for foreign-born residents, with the Canary Islands at a 22% rate, according to the latest Funcas analysis.

Spain ranks among the top European Union (EU) countries in terms of the proportion of foreign-born residents, with the Canary Islands reporting a figure of 22 percent, as highlighted by Funcas in its latest ‘Focus on Spanish Society’ analysis.

The report, produced by the economic and social research institute, notes that as of 2023, the average percentage of foreign-born individuals across all EU countries stood at 13.3 percent, according to Eurostat. Spain’s rate was notably higher at 17.1 percent, positioning it close to Sweden (20.4%) and Germany (19.5%), and surpassing France (13.1%), Portugal (16.1%), Greece (11.3%), and Italy (10.9%).

The Continuous Population Statistics indicate that by January 2024, Spain will have recorded its highest ever number of foreign-born residents, totaling 8.8 million, or 18.1% of the population, marking a one percentage point increase from 2023.

The regions with the largest percentages of foreign-born residents include the Balearic Islands (27%), Catalonia and Madrid (24%), Melilla (23%), and both the Valencian Community and the Canary Islands at 22%. In contrast, the regions with the lowest percentages are Extremadura (6%), Asturias (10%), and both Castilla y León and Galicia (11%).

Foreign-born residents make up 22% of the Canary Islands population

Funcas further details that around 42% of foreign residents in Spain are aged between 25 and 49 years, a demographic that typically represents the majority of the active workforce in any society. This percentage places Spain among the EU countries with the highest proportion of working-age foreign-born residents, surpassing the EU average of 37%, though trailing behind Denmark (44%), the Czech Republic (46%), and Finland (49%).

The analysis also shows that regions with higher immigrant populations, such as Catalonia, Madrid, the Basque Country, and Navarre, tend to have a larger proportion of immigrants within this age group. Conversely, regions with fewer immigrants, such as Asturias, Galicia, and Castilla y León, have higher percentages of immigrants aged 65 and over, many of whom originate from Argentina, Cuba, and Venezuela.

Funcas emphasizes that immigration is increasingly significant for both the labor market and socio-demographic structures within European societies. The age and size of immigrant populations reflect a society’s attraction potential and underscore the importance of public discourse on long-term integration, labor market adaptation, and social protection for ageing populations.

Foreign-born residents make up 22% of the Canary Islands population

Regarding EU citizenship acquisition, it was noted that in 2022, out of 989,940 people obtaining EU nationality, 857,173 were from non-EU countries. In Spain alone, 181,581 individuals were naturalized, accounting for 18% of all EU naturalizations, placing Spain alongside Italy (22%) and Germany (17%) as having the highest rates of naturalized immigrants within the EU.

In Spain, 38% of the newly naturalized citizens were from Central or South American countries, while 32% were from North African nations. In contrast, in Germany, almost half of the naturalized immigrants were of Asian origin, notably from Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.

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