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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Canaries Population Growth in 250 Years

Population statistics

Data from a study published by the Instituto Canario de Estadística (ISTAC) (Canarian Statistics Institute), reveals that, in the last quarter of a millennium, the overall population of the Canary Islands has multiplied by thirteen.

The study shows the growth in the Canary Islands' population since the first modern census in the history of the archipelago, the Census of Aranda in 1768, the first which counted all of the members of the population and not just heads of families.

At the time of that 1768 census, there were 155,763 people living in the Canary Islands. By 1797, the number had risen to 173,865. At the beginning of the 20th Century, in 1900, it was 364,408, which has risen to almost two million today.

An interesting piece of side information we can derive from this, is that with 283,931 "outsiders" (142,375 from other parts of Spain and 141,556 foreigners) living in the islands in 2001, the remaining population growth of 1.3 million over the last century must be due to the expansion of the "native population" itself and, firmly refutes the widely held belief that immigration alone is responsible for the explosion.

Tenerife and Gran Canaria have always been the most populated islands of the archipelago, with Gran Canaria occupying first place between 1940 and 2001.

Historically, La Palma had been the third most populated island and, had remained so until as recently as 1998, when Lanzarote took over that position.

The most populated city, since 1768, has been Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, except in 1910, when Santa Cruz in Tenerife took over the title briefly. The second most inhabited city was La Laguna, in Tenerife, back in 1768, Telde in Gran Canaria from 1787 to 1842 and Santa Cruz in Tenerife from 1857, until the present day.

Santa Cruz' population, back in 1768, had numbered a mere 7,399. By 2005, it had multiplied almost thirty times to 221,567. The population of Arona, in the south of Tenerife, has multiplied by almost 38, from 1,516 in 1768, to 57,445 in 2005.

Whereas, in more rural areas, such as in the municipality of Buenavista del Norte, which had begun with 1,376 inhabitants in the 18th Century, had merely quadrupled its numbers to it's highest point of 5,664 in 1996. Since then, the population has actually been slowly dropping, to 5,300 in 2005. In some rural districts on the island of La Gomera too, the population has only doubled in those 250 years.

Despite the population growth, the number of homes only multiplied by 9.6 in the 233 years, from 57,218 in 1768 to 552,497 in 2001. The average size of family has dropped from 4.2 in 1842, after reaching a peak of 4.8 in 1920, to 3.1 in 2001.