WEDDINGS held in Spain where at least one of the partners is a foreigner, have increased by 63 percent in four years.
The National Institute of Statistics (INE) has confirmed that in 2002, such unions already represented 8.5 percent of the total of marriages contracted throughout the country.
Seventy-seven percent of cases consisted of a marriage between a Spaniard with a person of another nationality; Spanish men prefer to marry women from Latin America but Spanish women prefer other Europeans.
In 1999, 11'259 marriages were contracted in which at least one of the partners was foreign; the figure climbed to 17'841 in 2002, a year when Spain celebrated 209'065 marriages.
The majority of foreigners choose a partner from Spain or someone of their own nationality, but in 39.5 percent of cases where both partners were foreign, they were of different nationalities.
INE has dedicated its latest information sheet to providing statistical informaton on foreigners in Spain, of which there are now 2'664'168. This figure represents 6.2 percent of the total resident population of the country.
The foreign population has multiplied four times over since 1998 and the highest annual growths have been registered from the year 2000 onwards: 48.4 percent between 2000 and 2001, and 44.3 percent between 2001 and 2002.
Ecuadorians are the most numerous foreign population in Spain (14.6 of all foreigners), even more than Moroccans who traditionally took first place but who have now passed to second, followed by Colombians in third.
There are more men (53.1%) than women, although the foreign population as a whole is basically masculine in the case of Moroccans (67.4%) and Italians (60.2%); and feminine in the case of Colombia (57.1%) and Peru (57.3%). The distribution of the different nationalities between regions is not consistent: Ecuadorians are the predominant foreign nationality in Asturias, Navarra, Burgos, Soria, Madrid, Cuenca, Albacete, Murcia and Valencia.
Moroccans predominated in all the Andalucian areas (except Malaga), in Caceres, Segovia, Guadalajara, La Rioja, Huesca, in the 4 Catalan provinces, and in the self-governing Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa.
Colombians are the outstanding foreign population in La Coruña, Cantabria, Vizcaya, Alava, Palencia, Valladolid, Avila and Gran Canaria; whilst Romanians take first place in Toledo, Ciudad Real, Castellón, Teruel and Zaragoza. The British are the most numerous foreign nationals in Alicante and Malaga whilst the Germans carry the day in the Balearics and in Tenerife.
Foreigners go to make up 4.7 percent of the workforce in Spain; in agriculture, 8.4% in construction, 6.9% in service industries, 4.4%, and in industry 3.1%.
INE specifies that 26.3 percent of people who find work in domestic service are foreigners, mostly Latin Americans. In the hotel and catering industry, one in every 10 employees is a foreigner.