British expat hotspot in Spain has seen the number of foreign residents soar by 800% since 1998

THE number of foreign residents in the Valencian Community has gone up eight-fold over 25 years.

The National Institute of Statistics(INE) says there were 102,000 registered non-Spaniards in 1998 compared to nearly 785,000 in 2022- the latest year that the INE has made a comparison.

One in six residents (15.4%) had a foreign passport, when in 1998 it was just 2.5%.

Out of the one million additional Valencia region residents in 25 years, six out of ten came from outside Spain- over 682,000 people.


The first big boost in non-Spaniards- led by British nationals- came during the property boom in the first decade of the century.

There were 894,000 foreigners in 2010- 17.5% of the population- but then there were six years of falls caused by the economic crisis and difficulties in finding work.

Therefore between 2011 and 2017, over 250,000 foreigners left with each year seeing more non-Spaniards departing rather than entering.

Things then changed from 2018 onwards, with the exception of first year of the Covid pandemic in 2020.

Between 2018 and 2022, foreign residents increased by over 142,000.

Romanians and Bulgarians are the two biggest non-Spanish groupings, followed by people from the United Kingdom.

The main concentration of Brits is in the Vega Baja, Marina Alta and Marina Baixa regions of Alicante province with a total of 66,200- 75% of all UK nationals in the Valencian Community.

British residents have gone up by 30,000- 52%- over two decades and are the leading foreign grouping in the above-mentioned Alicante regions plus the Vinapolo Mitja, as well as the Cofrentes-Ayora area of Valencia province.

Alicante province has the largest number of foreigners with around 389,000- one in five of provincial residents, with the foreign population quadrupling between 1998 and 2022.

Foreign arrivals are why Alicante province has gained more than half a million inhabitants in 24 years, since six out of 10 of the new residents do not have Spanish nationality (313,000 people).

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