By Humphrey Carter
PALMA

THE Balearic population now stands at over 1'106'049 people, central government confirmed yesterday.
In preparation for the local elections in May of next year, the latest official figures correspond to the number of people registered with their town halls on January 1, 2010.

So, while the official figure is 1'106'049, it could actually be slightly higher by the time the election come around and that figure does not include those residents who are not registered with their town hall, as is the case with a number of foreign residents.

Despite the recession and reports of an increase in immigrants, in particular those from South America, taking the government up on its offer of financial assistance to return home, according to central government, the Balearics continues to have one of the fastest growing populations in Spain. Between January 1, 2009 and the start of this year, the local population swelled by 10'623.

That is a growth of one percent which may seem small but it is higher than the national average of 0.6 percent and represented the third highest population increase in Spain along with the region of Navarra in the north east of the country.

Only in Murcia and Madrid did the populations swell more.
But, with the number of people officially registered as unemployed now at a record high of 92'049 - nearing the 100'000 mark - with the unions claiming that, in reality, there are nearer 125'000 out of work, around one in ten people are therefore unemployed or will be by Christmas in the Balearics.

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