The number of citizens of Catalonia who habitually reside abroad is 284,374 people as of 1 January 2017, amounting to an increase of 7.7% in comparison with the previous year, according to the Register of Inhabitants Residing Abroad. The number of people registered has increased in all counties, with notable increases in Osona (17.4%), El Vallès Oriental (14.6%), La Garrotxa (12.5%) and El Solsonès (12.3%).
By place of birth, 61.1% of those registered in the consular offices were born abroad, 33.9% were born in Catalonia and 4.8% elsewhere in Spain. The population born in Catalonia (96,379 people) resides mainly in Europe, where 61.2% is concentrated, while the population born abroad (173,773 people) resides mainly in America, where 60.2% of people of Spanish nationality born abroad are concentrated.
In the ranking of countries with the most Catalan residents, France comes first, with 37,149 people, of whom 40.9% were born in Catalonia. Argentina, despite being in second place (with 29,032 residents), has a different composition by place of birth, as 79.0% were born in the same country. In third place is Germany, with 21,234 residents, of whom 42.9% were born in Catalonia. Finally, the United States is in fourth position, with 17,584 residents, of whom 38.4% were born in Catalonia.
From a territorial perspective, more than half of residents abroad (53%) are registered in the El Barcelonès county and the main countries of residence, by order, are Argentina (10.4%), France (9.0% %) and Mexico (8.4%). France is the first country of choice for citizens of the majority of the counties: particularly noteworthy are the border counties such Aran (65.1% of residents), L'Alt Empordà (46.4%) and La Cerdanya (45.5%). Argentina is the primary destination in 9 counties, of which La Noguera (with 60.5% of residents) and El Pallars Jussà (49.0%) stand out.
During 2016, new registrations made in consular registers have remained stable with respect to the previous year (31,202 new registrations, representing a 0.5% increase), following increases of 13.8% and 12.9% in 2013 and 2014, respectively. These new registrations correspond to additions due to births, nationalisation, omissions or emigration abroad. The highest number of registrations (12,894) was entered in the European Union, most notably in France (13.2%), the United Kingdom (10.4%) and Germany (9.9%).
The Register of Inhabitants Residing Abroad is an administrative register of persons with Spanish nationality (regardless of whether it is their only nationality), who live abroad and whose last registered residence in Spain was in Catalonia. These persons are registered in the consular offices and considered as residents in Catalonia for electoral purposes, but do not form part of its official population.
The variables exploited in this register are sex, age, place of birth, place of registration and continent or country of residence, and refer to 1st January 2017. The data derives from the information sent by consular offices or sections to INE, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Idescat produces the annual statistical figures for Catalonia from the files created and processes by INE.