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Spanish brain drain spreads through Europe and America

airplane2The number of Spaniards registered as living abroad rose to 2.3 million this year.

At the start of the financial crisis in 2008, the number was around 1.4 million, according to figures released by the country’s statistics institute.

Most Spanish departing the country went first to Luxembourg where a heady half a million live, followed by Argentina where some 440,000 are registered. Those taking their quest to France number almost 233,000 and to Venezuela were 188,000.

There are now nearly 140,000 in Germany, a 35% increase from 2009, and 102,500 Spaniards registered as living in Britain, a 77% over that time, according to El Pais. The UK has the sixth largest contingent of expat Spaniards.

The true figures could be higher as many Spaniards do not register as living in another country.

Spain’s economy nosedived during the long years of the Great Recession and has only recently started to register growth. The high unemployment rate, the second largest in the euro area, has begun to dip but nevertheless is running at an unhealthy 23%.

Of those who have moved abroad, 60% came from immigrant backgrounds and returned to their home countries. Many of them will hold Spanish citizenship. Most of the remained are likely to be young people born in Spain who have left hoping to find work.