Press release 18/09/2019


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In 2018 the migratory balance of the Basque Country was positive, contributing 14,724 people to the population

External or extra-community geographical mobility was 5 points below that of the other Spanish Autonomous Regions as a whole

In 2018 a positive migratory balance was posted in the Basque Country. To be precise, 14,724 more people came than left, a higher figure than the 10,725 in 2017, according to Eustat data.

By province, Bizkaia, which gained 7,019 people, recorded the highest migratory balance in absolute figures; Gipuzkoa had a positive balance of 4,835 people and Álava gained 2,870 people. The highest percentage rise in the migratory balance corresponded to the province of Gipuzkoa, with an increase of almost 66% compared to the previous year. The migratory balance saw growth of 28.5% in Bizkaia and of 22.1% in Álava. Regarding the capitals, the municipality of Bilbao had a migratory balance of 2,569 people, Vitoria-Gasteiz of 2,553 and San Sebastián of 1,402 people.


In relation to the movements that occur between the Basque Country and the other Autonomous Regions, there was a positive balance of 82 people in 2018, although this was lower than the balance of the previous year (720). On the other hand, the balance with foreign countries was positive by 14,642 people.

Since 2000, when the migratory movements of the Basque Country became positive, in the last 19 years there have only been negative migratory balances in 2012 and 2013. The record migratory balance was achieved in 2007 with 16,835 people.

Emigration rates continued to be relatively low

In 2018 external or extra-community geographical mobility involved almost 36 per thousand inhabitants of the Basque Country and was 5 points below the other Spanish Autonomous Regions, where 41 inhabitants per thousand moved on average. By provinces, Álava reached 41.5‰, Bizkaia stood at 35.4‰ and Gipuzkoa at 35.3‰.

If we take into account the migratory movements with the different Autonomous Regions we see that the Basque Country maintained a negative balance with one half of them and a positive balance with the other.

The Regions that contributed the most immigrants were, in descending order, Andalusia, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Asturias, Ceuta-Melilla and Comunidad Valenciana. Andalusia is the Autonomous Region that contributed the highest positive balance, with 352 people.

The Autonomous Regions that attracted the emigrants from the Basque Country were as follows, in order: Madrid, Catalonia, the Balearics and La Rioja. Between the four of them they received more than two thirds of the people who left the Basque Country for other Autonomous Regions, although the negative balances were not more than 200 people.

The average age of the emigrants (36.4 years old) was higher than that of the immigrants (32.8 years old). 51% of immigrations and 47% of emigrations were by people in the 21-39 age group.

There are moderate differences in relation to gender: men represented 52% of immigrants and women 48%, similarly 53% of emigrants were men and 47% were women.

Almost 62% of immigrants and 43% of emigrants were foreign nationals

Immigrations of foreign nationals stood at 29,159 in 2018, representing almost two thirds of the total (62%). Of these 6,517 came from other Autonomous Regions, primarily from Madrid, Catalonia, Andalusia and Comunidad Valenciana, and another 22,642 came directly from abroad.

Emigrations of foreign nationals rose to 13,472, accounting for 43% of the total. The destination for over half of them (58%) was abroad. Therefore, the balance of foreign nationals was positive by 15,417.

66% of the changes of residence among the Basque population occurred within the Autonomous Region of the Basque Country itself

10.7% of the Basque population changed their place of residence in 2018, with the mobility on 66% of the occasions being within the Basque Country, whilst in the other cases the mobility was extra-community. These figures are almost identical to those from 2017.

In total, 232,894 changes of normal places of residence were recorded in the Basque Country. Of these, 101,438 were changes of address within the same municipality. Intra-community mobility, in other words, where the origin and destination are different municipalities of the Basque Country, increased to 52,216 movements.

There were also 46,982 cases of extra-community or external immigration, which are those that have their origin outside the Autonomous Region and where the destination is the Basque Country. Of these cases, 26,099 came from abroad.

Finally, there were 32,258 cases of external or extra-community emigration, in other words, residential variations originating in a municipality of the Autonomous Region and with the destination outside it, 11,457 of which were to destinations abroad; a decrease of 3.5% with respect to the 2017 figures.


For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Basque Statistics Institute C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: Tel: 945 01 75 62

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In 2018 the migratory balance of the Basque Country was positive, contributing 14,724 people to the population

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