National Statistics Institute

Press section

Press Section / Continuous Register Statistics

Latest data January 1st, 2017* January 1st, 2016 Annual rate (%)
Total Population 46,539,026 46,557,008 0.0
Foreign Population 4,549,858 4,618,581 -1.5

(*) Provisional data

Description

The Municipal Register is the administrative register that includes all the persons who regularly reside in the m unicipality. Their data prove they reside in the municipality and the address of their regular domicile in the same. All persons who live in Spain must be inscribed in the Register of the municipality where they usually reside. Official population figures are obtained by adding up the figures from the Registers of each of the Spanish municipalities.

The compilation, maintenance, revision and custody of the Register is performed by the corresponding Councils. The updating of the Registers provide official population figures that refer to January 1st of each year, which are endorsed by the Government as proposed by the INE, after a favourable report from the Register Council.

What is the statistical use of the Register?

Spanish councils send the information in their municipal registers to the INE, which is the organism in charge of coordinating the data. The Statistics Institute then presents the proposal of the official population figures to the Government. The INE's information is used statistically to perform a statistical operation with the official population figures on the same reference date. The basic variables used in the Municipal Register are: place of residence, sex, age, place of birth and nationality.

History of the population figures

Between 1900 and 1991 de facto population data from the censuses were disseminated once every decade. Between 1986 and 1995, the population data refer to the de jure population; the information is annual and stems from register renovations (1986 and 1991) and rectifications performed before the 1996 legislative reform.

In 1996 a continuous and computerised system was implemented to manage the Municipal Registers, based on the coordination of all information performed by the INE. The data contained in the Register were updated according to the new system on January 1st 1998 for the first time. From then on, official population figures are obtained annually.

Differences between the Register and the Census

The Municipal Register is an administrative register and each city council is responsible for putting it together and maintaining it. Its purpose is to prove which persons regularly reside in a municipality. Its content is determined by Law and the data is taken from administrative files that are updated continuously with the applications for registration received from the citizens themselves (that cause the corresponding cancellations in the municipality of origin) and changes of address and personal data. The data are also updated using information from other administrative sources (births and deaths inscribed in the Civil Registers).

The addition of these data, coordinated by the INE to avoid duplicates in the registration process, results in population figures which, by Royal Decree, are subsequently declared official. The reference period for the data is January 1st of each year.

The Population Census is carried out every 10 years using exhaustive questionnaires that are sent to the population. The figures are of a merely statistical nature, in other words, they are not official population figures and they are protected by statistical secrecy. By using the Census data, the social and demographic characteristics of the population can be understood in depth.