Country Digest

Catalonia Population (2017)

The population of Catalonia is 7,522,596 (source: Idescat).

The Catalonian parliament declared independence from Spain on 27 October 2017. The Spanish government has refused to accept this declaration of independence, so Catalonia’s current status is uncertain.

Before Catalonia’s declaration of independence it was the second largest autonomous community (region) in Spain, with 16% of Spain’s population.

Barcelona (population: 1,608,746) is the largest city in Catalonia, and the second-largest city in Spain.

Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Catalonia, 47% of people speak Spanish as their own language. This is followed by Catalan, with 37%.

Largest cities in Catalonia

Barcelona is the largest city in Catalonia. In 2016 the population of Barcelona was 1,608,746. The urban area of Barcelona has a population of 4,740,000, and the wider metro area is home to 5,375,774 people (2015 data).

The table below lists the largest cities or municipalities in Catalonia by population.

Rank City Population
1 Barcelona 1,604,555
2
L’Hospitalet de Llobregat
252,171
3 Badalona 219,547
4 Terrassa 210,941
5 Sabadell 206,493
6 Tarragona 140,323
7 Lleida 135,919

Language in Catalonia

Catalonia is a multilingual region. The four official languages of Catalonia are Catalan, Spanish, Aranese and Catalan Sign Language. Almost everyone in Catalonia as a working knowledge of both Catalan and Spanish.

A 2008 survey indicated that 46% of people in Catalonia usually spoke Spanish in their day-to-day lives. A further 36% usually spoke Catalan, and 12% said they used both languages regularly. People living in major cities such as Barcelona were more likely to speak Spanish on a day-to-day basis, whereas people living in rural areas of Catalonia were more likely speak Catalan.

Catalan

Ability Percentage
Understand 99.0%
Speak 96.4%
Read 91.4%
Write 88.8%

Spanish

Ability Percentage
Understand 94.5%
Speak 74.5%
Read 74.4%
Write 49.8%

Aranese is a dialect of the Occitan language, which is spoken across Southern France and Northern Italy. Aranese is spoken by an estimated 4,700 people in the Val d’Aran region of Catalonia, where it has had a special protected status for some time. It was made an official language of Catalonia in 2006.

Catalonia Population Growth

The table below lists the population of Catalonia and population growth since 1900.

Year Population
1900 1,966,382
1910 2,084,868
1920 2,344,719
1930 2,791,292
1940 3,240,313
1950 3,240,313
1960 3,925,779
1970 5,122,567
1981 5,949,829
1990 6,062,273
2000 6,174,547
2010 7,462,176

Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadística (Spain)

Religion in Catalonia

Christianity is the largest religion in Catalonia. Data from 2014 show that 56.5% of Catalans were Christian, over 90% of whom were Catholic. 

Atheists are the next largest single group, comprising 18.2% of people in Catalonia, followed by agnostics (12%), Muslims (7.3%) and Buddhists (1.3%).

Christian56.5%
Atheist18.2%
Agnostic12%
Muslim7.3%
Buddhist1.3%

A further 2.3% of Catalonia’s population reported that they were members of another religion.

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