Though it’s long felt anecdotally true to say that Spain is the favourite retirement destination among Brits, there is now data to back up the claim.
After a new study revealed the top 10 countries in the world where Brits want to spend their retirement, Spain has come out on top.
Experts at Retirement Solutions have dug into the data and studied the average monthly Google search volume for different search phrases relating to retiring abroad.
They combined different Google search terms with each country to calculate the total search volume and ranked them according to the results. The following searches were analysed:
- ‘retire in X’
- ‘best place to retire in X’
- ‘best places in X to retire’
- ‘can I retire in X’
- ‘how to retire in X’
- ‘retire in X from UK’
Spain – a retirement paradise?
In news that might not surprise many, the country with the highest average monthly search volume was Spain, with 1,050. Spain has long been a popular retirement destination for Britons, and remains so despite the bureaucratic complications of Brexit. In fact, even after Brexit Spain’s British population continues to grow.
That’s according to new data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), which shows that the number of Brits residing in Spain has actually increased by 11,047 over the past year.
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The reasons why Britons might want to retire in Spain seem limitless, but the main draws are the pleasant climate, affordability, proximity to friends and family in Britain, and the gentle pace of life. With the rising cost of living across Europe, particularly skyrocketing utilities bills in the UK, many retirees from across Europe have decided Spain is the best place to live off their savings and pension while avoiding rising prices.
Where do British retirees live in Spain?
According to the latest figures from Spain’s Ministry of Migrations, there are a total of 409,763 Brits living in Spain. This is over 115,000 more than the figure stated by Spain’s official stats body INE, who gauge the number by those with TIE cards, which not all Brits have.
The sociological profile of British residents in Spain may be unsurprising to many. The average age is 54 years old, considerably higher than other non-Europeans migrant groups, most notably Pakistanis and Moroccans, both groups with median ages of 33 years.
Most popular Spanish regions for Brits to live in
It might not come as a surprise to discover that in early 2023 the biggest number of Brits in Spain lived in the southern region of Andalusia, home of the famous Costa del Sol, with a total of 92,180.
This was followed closely by the Valencia region, which includes Alicante province, with a total of 87,699, and then the Canary Islands with 29,631.
Other autonomous communities with a sizeable British population are Catalonia with 24,689, the Balearic Islands with 19,569, Murcia with 17,562 and the Spanish capital of Madrid with 11,831.
Most popular provinces
Meanwhile, the latest data from the padrón register also shows where the majority of Brits live on a provincial level. And unsurprisingly the provinces housing the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol are the most popular.
Of Spain’s 50 provinces, Alicante in the Valencia region comes top once again with 76,739 Brits. This coastal province is of course home to popular spots among Brits such as Benidorm, Torrevieja and Jávea, where those from Blighty represent anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of the total population and sometimes even run in municipal elections.
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The Spanish province with the second biggest British population in 2023 is Málaga province with 56,019. Similarly, places like Benahavís, Marbella or Estepona have a sizeable British representation.
In third place are the Balearic Islands, which isn’t classified as a province but rather a region made up of four main islands, with Mallorca housing the bulk of the 20,000 Brits who live in the archipelago.
Murcia, which is also not a province but a region, has its British population living mainly along the coast and in particular in the municipality of Mazarrón, where a 8,000-strong British population make up a third of residents.
The Retirement Solutions Rankings
Spain came out on top in the rankings, and the rest of the top 10 was made up of familiar retirement destinations, including Australia (2nd), Iberian neighbour Portugal (3rd), Thailand (4th), Canada (5th), France (6th), India (7th), New Zealand (8th), Italy (9th), and Greece (10th).
A spokesperson from Retirement Solutions said of the study’s findings: “There are many ways to spend your retirement, whether that be picking up new hobbies or becoming more active – but one thing that many people may not get to experience as well as they’d like to is visiting different countries and exploring new cultures. For this reason, retiring abroad is very appealing to many Brits.”