MADRID, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Immigration has helped Spain reach a record level of population despite the country's falling birth rate, the Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE) confirmed on Tuesday.
The study "Population Figures: 1 January 2019" showed that on the first day of this year, 46,934,623 people lived in Spain. This is the highest number of inhabitants ever recorded in the country.
The population rose by 276,186 people during 2018, which is the highest level of growth registered since 2008 when the Spanish population increased by 570,000 just before the start of the economic crisis.
Tuesday's study came just a week after another INE report entitled "Vital Statistics: Basic Demographic Indicators" showed that 423,636 people died in Spain in 2018, while there were 367,374 births.
However, this "negative vegetative growth" was more than compensated by immigration figures over the year with 643,037 people from other countries arriving to live in Spain, compared to 309,365 leaving the country.
The level of immigrants now living in Spain stands at 4.84 million. This is the highest number since 2013, but below the 5.4 million immigrants who were residents in 2009 and 2010; many of whom then abandoned the country due to the effects of the crisis and rising unemployment.
The improving economic conditions are also highlighted by the fact that 2018 saw more Spanish nationals return to Spain than leaving to find work abroad for the first time in 10 years.
2018 saw 83,728 Spanish nationals move to live in Spain, while 80,253 Spaniards moved to live abroad.
However, INE highlight that this doesn't necessarily mean Spaniards who left their homeland in the economic crisis have now come back home, because of the 83,728 "returnees" only 31,438 had actually been born in Spain.