Expatica reports that over 9 percent of the Spanish population now consists of foreign immigrants. That’s compared to 1.6 percent in 1998, the year I arrived in Spain.
I remember being amazed during my first months in the country by the lack of demographic diversity on the streets of Madrid – everyone was Spanish. The government’s recent drive to legalise unregistered immigrant workers, and thus bring in a lot more revenue in taxes, has certainly done a lot to boost these statistics, bringing legal status to a huge number of South American and Moroccan immigrants. A wise move, culturally and economically. Spain, at long last, is coming to terms with its status as a somewhat plural society – now it’s just a question of waiting to see how long the more dominant aspects of Spain’s traditional monoculture prevail (gastronomy, arts, press, TV etc – still all as Spanish as Spanish can be…)