AT 11 a.m. yesterday morning, the population of Palma reached 350'000 with the new landmark figure being set by 42-year-old Joaquín Manrique Rodríguez, from Almeria, who was the 350'000th person to register himself at the Town Hall - but unfortunately, the Mayor of Palma Joan Fageda was unable to be on hand to welcome the latest resident, as had been planned. Since 1965, the population of Palma has doubled and sources for the city council revealed yesterday that 41'06 per cent of the capital's population which registered last year were foreign and 40 per cent of those are from none European Union member states. On January 1 this year, the population of Palma was 349'691 with 93'73 per cent being Spanish nationals. The second largest community is the German, there are 2'362 registered Germans living in Palma, followed by 1'916 from Ecuador and 1'533 Britons. However, over the past year there has been a marked increase in the number of North Africans and Colombians registering at the town hall. City council sources admitted that many of them have been living in the capital for some time, but are now registering and getting their legal situation in order. With regards to resident number 350'000, he explained yesterday that it was in fact the second time he has registered with Palma city council. He lived in the city before, but moved away in 1976. Until last week he lived in Ciutadella, but he explained that he intends to settle permanently now in Palma because I like the island and I've got family here. The rate at which nonEuropean Union residents are registering is expected to start slowing down over the next five to six months. Since 1996, Spanish nationals registered in Palma having been losing ground to foreign residents, for example in 1996, 95'53 per cent of new Palma residents were Spanish nationals, last year, the percentage dropped to 58'94 per cent, with foreign residents accounting for 41'06 per cent. Of the Spanish nationals, just over 50 per cent were born in the capital, nine per cent elsewhere in the Balearics and 32 per cent from mainland Spain. Another new and interesting figure is that 26'69 per cent of families in Palma are single parent units while just under two percent do not know how to read and write. The effects, however, of Palma's rapidly growing population are clear to see as the capital's infratsructure buckles under the strain of the ballooning Palma and Majorcan population.
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