It is reported that during 2013, populations in 88 of the 101 municipalities in Málaga province went down, the first time this has occurred for seventeen years.
The figures are taken from the padrón – census – figures kept by individual municipalities. It is the population of each municipality which affects the amount of state funding for public services as well as determining how many councillors each town can elect.
The population of Spanish nationals in the province actually increased, but this was reportedly more than offset by the loss of around 43,000 registered foreign residents.
EU residents are required to re-register on the padrón every five years, non-EU redisents every two years, so it is highly likely that the loss of foreign residents has taken place over a longer period than one year.
Many people who leave the area, for whatever reason, do not bother to update the padrón entry, so the decrease could have been a bit more gradual, taking place over a period of five years or more.
The largest group of foreigners in Málaga province are the British, and there were reportedly around 20,000 fewer in January 2014 than there were in January 2013. The German population, the second largest foreign group, fell by nearly 5,500.
Mijas, which has the largest foreign population, lost a total of 8,000 residents during the period. Marbella lost 3,300, Torrox lost 3,000 (16% of its population) and Nerja lost 2,269. At the other end of the scale, Vélez-Málaga actually increased in population, albeit by only 897 residents.
Ageing foreign populations, changes in laws in Spain or other EU member states, changes in personal circumstances and the financial situation in Spain are just some of the reasons which could have caused what appears to be a bit of an exodus.