People are fleeing Spain, worse exodus since 1940s
A man walks towards the Barajas international airport in Madrid on Monday. For the first time since the 1940s, the Spanish population has dropped as people leave the econmically challenged nation. (Paul White/Associate Press)
Here is a sad statistic -- Spain has experienced the first recorded population decline since the end of the Spanish civil war.
Reuters reported this morning that according to new figures from Spain's National Statistics Institute, the population fell by 206,000 to 47.1 million and that almost the entire drop is attributed to the flight of registered foreign residents.
Where everyone is going, is anyone's guess. However, a good bet would be Germany, the only European nation that seems to be able to consistently strengthen its economy.
Not since 1946 has Spain seen such a dramatic drop in those deciding to leave the European country.
Spain has suffered through years of economic recession and social upheaval after the global markets crashed in 2008.
Earlier this month the European Commission, not surprisingly, kept Spain on their list of 13 struggling countries to watch in the EU. In economic parlance, the commission warned Spain is "experiencing excessive macroeconomic imbalances. Although adjustment is taking place, the magnitude of the necessary correction requires continuous strong policy action."
Unemployment in Spain is a staggering 26.3 per cent, according to recent Eurostat data. That is only slightly better than Greece, which sits at 26.4 per cent.
For those under 25, the Spanish jobless rate is a whopping 55.7 per cent. The only nation in the European Union that is worse, is Greece at 58.4 per cent.
And, last week, at the International Monetary Fund's semi-annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Olivier Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist called low growth in the eurozone bad news for all European nations.
Spain is expected to experience a "substantial contraction" of its economy in 2013 before things start to improve, Blanchard said.
"The process of internal devaluation is slowly and painfully taking place, and most of these countries are slowly becoming more competitive. External demand, however, is just too weak to compensate for even weaker internal demand," Blanchard said on April 16.
In other words: Hold tight Spain. Somebody is going to start spending again, one day.
Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. Follow her on Twitter @TanyaTalaga