Nearly 90,000 Britons abandoned their Mediterranean dreams in Spainlast year, according to new figures.
The ongoing effects of the eurozone crisis, a huge property slump and a rapidly shrinking job market have contributed to the exodus, reducing Spain’s total population for the second year running.
Town hall registers across the country recorded a steep drop in Britons, falling 23 per cent from 385,179 on Jan 1 last year to 297,229 at the end of December.
Other European expatriates are also taking their leave – the registered German population fell by 23.6 per cent to 138,917 and the French population by 12.7 per cent to just over 100,000. The only nationality to increase their presence in Spain were the Chinese.
Jackie Miles, 48, is among British expatriates who has abandoned Spain in the last year when she moved with her husband and two children to Dubai.
“We had been in Spain for 13 years and loved it, but like many other British people we had to find work and it just wasn’t possible any longer in our part of Andalusia,” she said.
The couple had moved out to Mojacar in southern Spain 13 years ago where Mr Kirby ran an estate agency and his wife owned a gym. “As the crisis continued, the estate agency business dried up and the gym, which did very well for many years, became harder to run at a profit.”
Maura Hillen, the chairman of AUAN, a pressure group based in Almeria province that campaigns for the rights of British home owners caught up in a property scandal, said: “Many people no longer wish to stay in Spain because of the never-ending fight to legalise their properties.
“There is a wider trend of Britons leaving. People who retired out here in their 50s and 60s have seen their circumstances change. Advancing age, losing a partner, and the rise in the cost of living make life here less attractive.”
Although town hall records show those officially registered, the British embassy in Madrid estimates as many as 800,000 Britons reside for at least part of the year in Spain.
New research has found those who migrate to southern Europe are often less happy than those they leave behind.
Dr David Bartram, from Leicester University, examined the survey responses of 329 people who had moved from northern European countries to either Spain, Portugal, Greece or Cyprus.
He found that, when asked how happy they were on a scale of 1 to 10, the migrants scored an average of 7.3 compared with an average of 7.5 for 56,000 people in northern Europe who were also surveyed.The decline in foreigners choosing to reside in Spain has led to an overall population decline in the nation for the second year running.
While the total population of native Spaniards crept up by 141,361 people, the departure of immigrants saw the total resident in Spain slide from 47,129,783 to 46,725,164.
Analysts suggested the increase in Spanish citizens could not be accounted for by birth rate alone but was probably boosted by the naturalisation of those immigrants who had resided in Spain for a certain amount of time.
According to official statistics Britons remain the second largest EU expatriate community in Spain after Romanians.
Sourced from The Telegraph