STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE population of the Balearic Islands has increased by 3 percent over the last year, passing the one million mark and positioning the region as the second in Spain in terms of population growth, second only to the Spanish city of Melilla in North Africa.

A report released yesterday to a central government advisory board by the National Institute of Statistics showed that on 1st January this year, the Islands laid claim to a population of 1'030'650 inhabitants - a figure reflecting a 3 percent growth over and above numbers for 2006 (1'001'062). The official difference in population between the two years has been officially logged as 29'588. At a national level, the Spanish population hit the 45.2 million mark in 2007, up from 44.7 million in 2006.

This registered growth in the Balearic population, produced largely by an influx of residents from overseas, raises once again questions for both national and regional government on issues of control of numbers and provision of funding. Balearic president, Francesc Antich is anxious to get the Administration in Madrid to officially recognise the strain that the “floating” immigrant population is placing on regional resources through the establishment of a special “Balearic regime” to top up Island financing. According to the information provided by the Statistics Institute for last June, the origin of the foreign population which has decided to make its home in the Islands, the country with the most numbers here is Germany (29'094); followed by the United Kingdom (19'623); Morocco (17'834); Ecuador (13'061); Italy (11'900); Argentina (11'112); Columbia (8'999); France (7'106); Romania (7'005); Bulgaria (6'356). Population growth was a political issue earlier this year with the Unio Mallorquina party saying that as an Island, Majorca only has room for a limited number of people.

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