Historic population boom: Barcelona reaches 1.7 million inhabitants

Historic population boom: Barcelona reaches 1.7 million inhabitants

The Catalan capital has registered a historic population boom by reaching 1.7 million inhabitants, a figure not seen since 1990, according to recent data provided by the City Council’s Municipal Data Office.

This growth has been especially notable during the first seven months of 2023, with an increase of more than 40,000 inhabitants, surpassing the total figure for the previous six years.

The demographic dynamism experienced by Barcelona reveals a faster growth rate than that observed in the last decade. The city has experienced an increase of 41,456 inhabitants since January 2023, reaching 1,701,891 registered residents.

This increase is significant, as it exceeds the growth rate of the previous six years, where the population increased by about 35,000 people.

A population boom with an accelerated and diversified growth rate

The demographic breakdown reveals that the population increase is especially centered in the 25-39 age group, with a total of 20,474 new residents, representing 49.4% of the total increase.

This demographic segment is significantly driving the city’s growth.

The highlight of this phenomenon is the diversified composition of the population, with about 85% of the new inhabitants being foreigners.

Between January and August 2023, non-European Union (EU) residents increased by 28,368 people, while EU residents grew by 6,760 and Spanish nationals by 6,328.

Overall, foreigners now make up 25.1% of the total population, exceeding a quarter of the total for the first time.

Changes in predominant nationalities


The Italian community remains the largest, with 49,371 registrants, almost doubling its number since 2016. They are followed in size by the Colombian, Pakistani, Chinese, Peruvian and French communities.

An interesting phenomenon is the increase of Russian and Ukrainian residents, attributed to the war between the two countries. In August 2023, registered Ukrainians increased to 9,510 from 5,000 in March 2022, and Russians grew to 11,411 from 7,554 in the same period.

Argentina stands out as the most popular country of origin after Spain.

Changes in native and foreign composition

For the first time since records began in 2016, residents born outside the Barcelonès region are in the majority, representing about 49% of the total. This decline is attributed in part to the drop in the Barcelona-born population, which has declined by more than 30,000 since 2019.

Although those born in Catalonia are still the majority, their proportion has been decreasing. Barcelona’s native population has fallen by approximately 100,000 people in the last quarter century.

This trend is inversely proportional to the increase in the number of foreign-born, which reached half a million for the first time in 2023. Notably, 57% of people between 25 and 39 years of age registered in Barcelona were born outside Spain.

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