The number of Catalans who habitually reside abroad is 302,525 people as of 1 January 2018, amounting to a year-over-year variation of 6.4%, according to the Register of Inhabitants Residing Abroad (PHRE). The number of people registered has increased in all the counties and Aran, with the exceptions of L'Alta Ribagorça and La Terra Alta, where the figures have remained stable, and Les Garrigues, which has recorded a slight fall (−0.4%). The largest rises can be observed in Osona (12.9%) and La Garrotxa (12.0%).
A large majority of the Catalans who reside abroad are distributed in practically equal parts between the American and European continents (47.9% and 47.4% respectively). With regard to registrations by county, it should be highlighted that most of the counties (35 and Aran) have more citizens residing in the rest of Europe than in America, headed by L'Alt Urgell, Aran, El Solsonès and Osona.
By place of birth, as of 1 January 2018 there are 148,270 Catalans abroad who were born in the same country as where they now reside, 5.0% more than a year ago. This figure accounts for 49.0% of the total number of Catalans residing abroad. By counties, the highest proportions can be found in La Noguera (68.3%), El Pallars Jussà (67.8%) and El Priorat (64.6%). Moreover, 102,448 people were born in Catalonia, 6.3% more than in the previous year, a figure which accounts for 33.9% of the total number of residents abroad. The highest proportions can be found in Osona (49.9%) and El Pallars Sobirà (49.8%).
By municipalities, 47.4% of all the residents abroad are registered in the municipality of Barcelona. It is followed, in much smaller proportions, by L’Hospitalet (2.2%), Sabadell (2.0%) and Terrassa (2.0%).
In 2017 there were 30,547 new registrations in the consular registries, 2.1% fewer than a year ago, corresponding to additions due to birth, nationalization, omission and emigration abroad. The decrease is due to the decrease of 8.3% of new registrations in the American continent (that is, 1,113 fewer than the previous year) and more intensely in South America (−9.4%).
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 2018. 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.