On 1 January 2017 the population of foreign nationality residing in Catalonia stood at 1,041,362, a figure representing 13.8% of the total population. The number of foreigners increased by 17,964 people in comparison with the previous year, representing a year-over-year increase of 1.8%.
There were 17 counties which recorded increases in their foreign populations. El Barcelonès registered the highest increase (5.7%), followed by El Ripollès (4.0%). In contrast, the greatest decreases in the foreign population were recorded in El Pallars Jussà (-7.1%), El Solsonès (-5.5%), El Berguedà (-5.4%) and El Baix Ebre (-5.3%).
The counties with the greatest presence of foreign population were La Segarra (25.2%), L’Alt Empordà (24.0%) and El Gironès (19.0%). Those which had the lowest presence of the above population were the counties of El Berguedà (6.9%), El Moianès (7.2%) and L’Anoia (7.6%).
By municipalities, those which had the highest foreign populations were Guissona (49.7%) and Castelló d’Empúries (43.6%), followed by Salt (37.1%) and Sant Pere Pescador (37.0%). Barcelona accounted for 27.4% of the foreign population of Catalonia, with 284,907 people.
In Catalonia, the Moroccan community was the most numerous, with 207,082 people, a figure equivalent to one fifth of the total number of foreigners (19.9%). Second position was occupied by the Romanian population, with 89,071 people (8.6%), followed by the Chinese, with 57,239, the Italian, with 51,761, and the Pakistani, with 44,202.
The Moroccan population was the first nationality in 26 counties of Catalonia, while the Romanian population was the first in 10 counties and Aran. In El Barcelonès, the first population was the Chinese, in La Garrotxa, the Indian, in El Moianès, the Malian, in L’Alt Urgell, the Portuguese, and, in La Cerdanya, the Bolivian.
The source of this data is the Municipal Population Register on January 1, which is the administrative register that accounts for the residents of a municipality and constitutes proof of their residence in said municipality. Its formation, maintenance and management is the responsibility of each respective local council.
The extended results on foreign population, derived from a statistical treatment of the Municipal Population Register, provides information on the foreign population resident in Catalonia and is disaggregated by continents and countries. It can be viewed by different areas: the total for Catalonia, provinces, areas of the Territorial Plan, counties, municipalities and municipal districts with more than 45,000 inhabitants.