Staying put in Spain

Letter published in The Economist in response to a Charlemagne column about migration.

SIR – Contrary to the impression given in the Spanish press of an exodus of engineers from Spain (Charlemagne, September 21st), they, and others, are leaving in very small numbers. Between January 2009 and January 2013, the worst years of Spain’s recession, the number of native Spaniards (those born in Spain) who resided abroad increased by a mere 40,000, which is less than 0.1% of Spain’s population, to 1.9m.

These figures are based on official Spanish statistics cross-checked with data in the countries where Spaniards reside, and the differences are not significant. Moreover, Spain’s foreign-born population of 6.4m is more than three times higher than the number of Spanish citizens living abroad.

Since the death of General Franco in 1975 Spanish society has, in fact, been exceptionally immobile.