Since the late 90s, Spain is a reference country as a destination for many, primarily EU foreign retirees. The number of nationals of other countries seeking the golden retirement in Spain has increased by 36,8%.
Despite this remarkable growth, it’s noteworthy that the percentage of European citizens who are putting down roots in other countries in retirement remains a minority in relation to those reaching that age remaining in their country of origin. But undoubtedly, the study of this phenomenon that makes Spain one of the favorite destinations of retirees has economic implications and has resulted in significant changes in some areas of Spain where they are putting down roots that are worth highlighting.
According to the population census in 1996, more than 86,000 EU nationals aged 55 or more years old are residing in Spain. This number has increased significantly, reaching 436,000 in 2011 (including the Norwegians and Icelanders). In fifteen years this counts for a multiplication by five.
Some of these older immigrants simply move to their second homes which they have owned for years in the Spanish beach areas, others face much more radical changes at the time of their sweet retreat. Although they are permanent residents, many spend part of the year in Spain (usually winter) and the rest in their country of origin as they seek to avoid high heat and noise of the summer months in Spain.
British make up the largest population, about 200,000, representing 46% of total foreign retirees living in Spain. The Germans are next with 20% of the total. The rest of nationalities represent 10%. However, there are places where some nationalities, including Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Austrian, have formed large colonies.
Where are they installed?
It’s nothing new to say that climate is the main factor of attraction that makes Spain a favourite tourist destination of many EU citizens. So it is not surprising that 90% of immigrants aged 55 or older are registered in one of the seven communities (Andalusia, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Madrid, Murcia, Canary Islands and Valencia), of which six of them are coastal.
Alicante is the province with the largest presence. In fact, a third of older foreigners registered in Spain is in Alicante. The demographic and residential growth of the main towns in the province exemplifies what has been the pattern of development.
Of all the municipalities of Spain, the Alicante town of Torrevieja has the greatest absolute presence largest immigrant community (19,566 foreign retirees, according to the INE 2011). If we analyze the percentage of foreign retirees from the rest of inhabitants, San Fulgencio (Alicante) is the municipality that holds the first position, as nearly 50% of its population are older immigrants.
What attracts them?
Apart climate, another factor influencing retirees come to Spain to retire who appreciate style is quiet and healthy life that usually characterizes the coastal municipalities. The low cost of living or health care has also prevailed in the factors in making this decision.
Regions with the highest number of foreigners
The Community of Madrid, Catalonia and Valencia are home almost 60% of all foreigners. This shows that foreigners prefer large cities such as Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia, to live and work.
In Andalusia, Balearic and Canary Islands resides 22.1% of them, mostly EU citizens seeking sun and beach for retirement. (Retired foreigners over 65 years)
The regions of the north and west of the peninsula are the ones with fewer foreign residents.