Eurostat survey reveals Spanish city with most expats

Published:  28 Sep at 6 PM
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Statistics from a recently released Eurostat survey have confirmed Spain as the most popular of all European states for expat living.

It’s old news that Spain is and always was the hottest destination for expats, especially retirees, with the results of a new Euro-survey identifying coastal Torrevieja in Alicante as holding the highest number of expats in the whole of Spain. Also known as the ‘city of salt’, the seaside town is home to 46 per cent of foreign residents, the majority of whom are retirees from the UK.

Having almost half of its residents hailing from outside the country is quite a feat, as the Spanish average of expats versus Spanish nationals is around 12 per cent. The Eurostat survey took in all the European Union’s major cities, with Torrevieja top of the list, followed by Brussels with its 44 per cent of foreign nationals, the majority of whom have connections with the EU administration offices and parliament.

Several other Spanish cities scored high in the survey, with Fuengirola taking fifth place behind Offenbach am Main in Germany and Narva in Estonia. Around 38 per cent of Fuengirola’s population were born outside Spain, with 54 per cent of the number born outside the European Union. The famous coastal city of Benidorm took eighth place in the survey results, again with a high number of elderly expats retiring in the sun.

The survey results confirm Spain as a major destination for elderly Brits seeking to spend their retirement far from the cold, rainy British winters and unreliable summers. Close on 50 per cent of Torrevieja’s expat population are over the age of 65, almost double that of Spain’s average of 30 per cent. Other Spanish cities popular with pensioners include San Sebastian, Salamanca, Gijon, La Corunya and Leon.

Given the undoubtedly high numbers of British retirees living in Spain, it’s no surprise that Brexit is likely to financially affect the Spanish economy. The loss of the spending power of hundreds of thousands of expat residents as well as the effect on both expat and local traders in retirement hotspots across the country will be huge.

In addition, British tourists who’ve visited regularly could well be put off by having to purchase a visa for their annual holidays. Worse still, regular visitors who’ve planned to retire to Spain via the EU’s freedom of movement and benefits rights may well decide to go elsewhere or reluctantly stay in the UK.
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