Depopulation is not an exclusive phenomenon of what has been called empty or emptied Spain but something more widespread that affects numerous areas throughout the country, as evidenced by the fact that 5,024 municipalities in absolutely all provinces have lost inhabitants since the beginning of the century .
The latest definitive population figures, those resulting from the revision of the Municipal Register as of January 1, 2021 made by the National Statistics Institute (the most recent as of July 1 are still provisional) reveal that more than six out of 10 Spanish towns, exactly 61.79 %, have seen their number of inhabitants reduced in the last 20 years . Altogether, these more than 5,000 localities now live 1,129,471 fewer people than two decades ago, despite the fact that, as a whole, Spain has gained 6,268,265 inhabitants in that period.
By provinces, 13 have seen their population reduced since the beginning of the century, the most Zamora (-16, 62%), Ourense (-11.43%), Lugo (-10.47%), Palencia (-10.27%) and León (-9.57%), ahead of Salamanca (-6.53% ), Asturias (-5.91%), Cáceres (-4.78%), Ávila (-3.33%), Cuenca (-2.98%), Jaén (-2.88%), Soria (- 2.81%) and Teruel (-1.24%). However, when expanding the detail of the analysis to the municipal level, it is observed that depopulation is much more widespread and not only affects those 13 provinces but also any territory to a greater or lesser extent.
Grouping the provinces by autonomous communities, in Andalusia 418 towns have lost 175,700 residents since 2001: in Almería 51 and 6,740 inhabitants; in Cádiz, 17 and 30,492, the majority from the capital (-23,727 inhabitants, -17.20%); in Córdoba, 58 and 21,595; in Granada, 98 and 43,132, one of them more than half of its population, Arenas del Rey (-67.79%); in Huelva, 38 and 4,005; in Jaén, 81 of its 97 municipalities have lost 34,591 neighbors; in Malaga, 42 and 8,180; and in Seville, 33 and 26,965, more than two thirds of the capital itself.
In Aragon, 547 municipalities have lost 40,962 neighbors: in Huesca, 136 and 9,274, two of them, Camporrélls and Baldellou, more than half of its neighbors; in Teruel, 185 and 12,229, with three towns that have left more than 50% of their population in these years; and in Zaragoza, 226 and 19,459, with 13 populations that have decreased more than 50%.
In Asturias, 71 municipalities, all except Oviedo and six other municipalities, have lost 86,753 inhabitants in these two decades.
In the Balearic Islands, a community that has seen its population increase by 33.50% in this period, three municipalities have lost inhabitants, although only 173, most of them in only one, Escorca, a small municipality in the Serra de Tramuntana with 181 neighbors.
In the Canary Islands, 22 towns have seen their population reduced by 18,370 citizens: in Las Palmas, seven and 2,913; and in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 15 and 15,457.
In Cantabria there have been 50 municipalities that have left 30,397 inhabitants so far this century, almost 43% in the capital (-7.02%).
In Castilla y León , 1,928 localities have lost 284,927 inhabitants and there are 146 of them that have decreased more than 50% in just these 20 years: 40 in Ávila, 38 in Soria, 17 in Segovia, 16 in Burgos, 12 in Zamora, 10 in Salamanca, eight in Palencia, three in Valladolid and two in León. In Ávila, 225 municipalities, 90% of the total, have lost 20,488 neighbors; in Burgos there have been 294 localities with 19,435 fewer inhabitants; in León, 189, which is nine out of 10, and 74,769; in Palencia, 177 of 191 and 23,963; in Salamanca, 317 and 52,127; in Segovia, 160 and 10,797; in Soria, 151 and 10,555; in Valladolid, 178 and 35,435, almost 58% corresponding to the capital (-20,518); and in Zamora, 237, 95.5% of the total, and 37,358. This community has some of the towns that the largest population has abandoned since the beginning of the century: Bercimuel (Segovia), 78.72%; Cigudosa (Soria), 72.60%; and Navamorales (Salamanca), 72.19%.
In Castilla-La Mancha, 673 towns have seen their population reduced by 92,543 inhabitants, 69 times -29 in Cuenca and 40 in Guadalajara- above 50%, with negative records in Cuenca Arandilla del Arroyo (-82.05%), and the Guadalajareña Angón (-80.49%) . By provinces, in Albacete there have been 65 municipalities with 15,593 fewer neighbors; Ciudad Real, 80 and 28,247; Cuenca, 215, nine out of 10, and 22,909; Guadalajara, 215 and 9,045, while 25 municipalities have at least doubled their population, the most Yebes, which has grown 2,659.52%; and Toledo, 98 and 16,749. In Toledo is the one that for years has been the smallest municipality in all of Spain, Illán de Vacas, with only three officially inhabitants, two less than in 2001.
In Catalonia, 234 cities and towns have lost 18,619 inhabitants: Barcelona, 40, almost all small towns -although the largest of them, Badia del Vallès It now has 13,228 neighbors after losing 12% of its population-, and 5,227; Girona, 21 and 1857; Lleida, 112 and 7,016; and Tarragona, 61 and 4,519.
In the Valencian Community, 196 municipalities have decreased by 21,007 inhabitants: in Alicante, 32 and 3,586; in Castellón, 71 and 6,161; and in Valencia, 93 and 11,260.
In Extremadura there have been 328 localities which have been left in these 20 years 79,745 inhabitants: Badajoz, 135 and 37,685; and Cáceres, 193 and 42,060, with four towns that have lost more than 50% of their population.
In Galicia, 240 municipalities have lost 207,468 neighbors: A Coruña, 65 and 80,556; Lugo, where only the capital and five more have increased in population, 61 and 50,396; Ourense, 84 (out of 92 locations) and 50,256; and Pontevedra, 30 and 26,260, one of them, Dozón, with less than half the inhabitants than in 2001.
Madrid, despite having grown by 1,378,818 inhabitants, more than 25%, also has municipalities that have lost population, specifically seven, although there are only 76 fewer neighbors, while 57 localities have at least doubled, the one that more Arroyomolinos, which has multiplied by seven.