The growth of the population in the Balearics has started to slow, though it was still one of only three regions of Spain where the population actually grew last year. Official figures released this week, based on foreign residents registered with their town hall (of which not all foreign, especially EU residents, are), show that between 1 January 2014 and 1 January 2015 over 100,000 immigrants abandoned the Balearics.
The latest data from the National Statistics Institute make it clear that the boom in immigration is a thing of the past. On 1 January last year, there were 1,104,479 inhabitants, only 1,037 more than the previous year.
The foreign population continues to be the highest in Spain - 192,518 residents from other countries - but the return of immigrants to their home countries has not slowed:10,594 went back during 2014. The most striking evidence of this is in the municipalities of Majorca: 31 of them saw their populations decline. This reverse in trend, partly also brought about by there being greater opportunities elsewhere, has led to over half of the island’s municipalities experiencing population decline, with 45 out of the 53 having seen a significant reduction in the number of foreign residents.
The main sources of these residents have been South America and the European Union, and of EU foreigners, there has been a striking drop in the number of Germans. In the course of one year, 1,350 German residents left. Of South American residents, the most emigrants were of Ecuadorian origin: 1,209 left, with 1,123 Colombians not far behind. Germans still constitute the largest foreign group resident on the islands with 20,158, but each year finds Moroccans closing in on this top position.
However, the 18,035 Moroccans also represent a decline in number, albeit at a much slower rate. The third largest group is from the UK, the 15,505 British citizens also being a lower number than previously. A total of 938 registered British residents left the Balearics last year. However, not all returned to the UK, as many moved to the mainland, where the cost of living is cheaper, Portugal or the Middle East.
The municipality in Majorca which lost the largest number of British residents was Calvia - 95, leaving the British population at 4,635. Fifty-eight British residents left Soller, while Andratx welcomed 51 new British residents. The big losers appear to be Minorca - Mahon, for example, lost 96 British residents - and Ibiza. Santa Eularia des Riu lost 165 British residents.
During 2014, a total 3,357 EU citizens left the Balearics, while 5,645 South Americans departed, as did 1,411 Africans.
The South Americans were driven away by the recession but the dip in the number of Britons will be cancelled out by the new arrivals.