Barcelona loses inhabitants for the first time since 2015

The covid has left an indelible mark on demographics. The reading on January 1, 2021 of the Barcelona municipal register, published this Sunday by the City Council’s Statistics department, certifies the severe impact of the pandemic: a fall in the number of residents in the city, something that had not occurred since the 2015. Mortality has skyrocketed, births have been cut and migratory flows slowed down.

The decrease in the population compared to a year earlier is 0.4%, so that it stands at 1,660,314 people. They are 6,200 less than at the beginning of 2020. All in all, this number of residents is the second highest in the last thirty years.

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The population decline is quite general. Nine of the ten districts are down, while in one, Ciutat Vella, the number of inhabitants grows, 1.2%. As for the rest, the cuts are produced with different intensity. Those who lost the least were Sant Martí (-0.2%) and Nou Barris (-0.3%) and those who lost the most, Sarrià- Sant Gervasi and Les Corts (both -1.3%).

The most striking effect of the emergence of the covid is, without a doubt, the increase in deaths. The figure collected as of January 1 of this year is the highest since 1900, except for the years of the civil war and another epidemic, that of the Spanish flu. This peak has broken the downward trend of previous years and with a year-on-year increase of 31.7%, deaths have skyrocketed. Throughout 2020, 18,968 people died, compared to an average of 15,000 in previous years. Some 4,200 deaths are attributed to covid.

On January 1, the city had 1,660,314 residents, 0.4% less than a year earlier

Mortality has affected women more and especially the elderly. The peak corresponds to the months of March and April, coinciding with the first wave of the pandemic, which was the one that did the most damage, especially to the elderly. The number of centenarians in the city stagnates at the historical maximum reached last year of 864, 23.1% more than in 2016.

The birth rate is also at minimum levels, below 12,000 births. This is the second lowest value in the last fifty years. It has fallen by 6.4% compared to a year earlier, with a total of 11,753 registrations. The average for previous years was about 13,500.

The natural balance of the population, the result of the subtraction between births and deaths, is still negative, but in 2020 it is practically five times the magnitude of the past decade.

The death toll in 2020 is the highest since 1900, except for the years of the civil war and the Spanish flu.

The third factor that has varied significantly is that of migratory and administrative movements, which was the one that made the population grow in the last six years since, as has been said, the natural balance was negative. The impact of the pandemic is also seen here with a practically neutral result.

During 2020 the migratory balance was positive, 13,376 people, and the administrative one (registrations in the register by omission minus cancellations due to improper registration or expiration), negative, with 11,884 registrations. The total result is positive, with 1,492 people, but much less than in previous years, approximately 80%.

The profile of immigration has not changed significantly. The sources from the rest of Spain are, in this order, l’Hospitalet, Madrid, Badalona, ​​Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Sabadell and Terrassa. From abroad, they are Argentina, Colombia, United Kingdom, Italy, Pakistan, Peru and Honduras. The third position of the United Kingdom stands out, which a year before, just before Brexit, was in eighth.

Another novelty: the migratory and administrative balance is practically neutral

Emigration, on the other hand, has changed a lot since the arrival of the covid. The predominant profile corresponds to young people who are going to live mainly in the rest of Catalonia and Spain. The favorite places are the big cities of the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona and Madrid; in order: l’Hospitalet, Madrid, Badalona, ​​Santa Coloma, Sabadell, Terrassa and Sant Cugat.

A total of 3,511 people left Barcelona to go abroad to live in other places throughout 2020. The most prominent destinations were, in this order, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, France, Switzerland and Italy.

Compared to previous years, the preference to go to the rest of Catalonia has increased, which absorbs 69.8% of the total emigrants in 2020, four points more than a year earlier.


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