Joint Programming Initiative

More Years, Better Lives

The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change

Municipal Register (Continuous Register Statistics ) 1996-2013
Padrón Municipal de Habitantes (Estadística del Padrón Continuo) 1996-2013

Housing, Urban Development and Mobility
Relevance for this Topic
Country Spain
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Contact information

Ana Jurado Jiménez/Unidad de Padrón (Population Register Unit)
Instituto Nacional de Estadística (Spanish, Statistical Office, INE)
Castellana 183
28071 Madrid
Phone: 91 583 91 00
Fax: 91 583 91 58
Email: ana.jurado.jimez(at)

Timeliness, transparency

Final results are published in January the following year after collection and provisional figures are published in April of the reference year.

Type of data


Type of Study

Continuous and open register to record any personal data changes at municipal level.

Data gathering method


Access to data

On site free access to defined tables and microdata files for scientific purpose and elaboration. Data contain the following variables: province and municipality of residence, province and municipality of birth, sex, age, nationality and size of municipality of residence and birth. Codes for municipalities under 10,000 inhabitants are not allowed to be seen in order to preserve confidentiality. - Free access in Spanish and English to defined tables: - Anonymized microdata in Spanish and English: Notes for general use and for media in English. This register also offers municipal population and street maps to researchers.

Conditions of access

Fees are charged for specific demands. Anonymised microdata can be accessed for free.

Depending on the type of demand. In general, no more than 20 days.

Aggregated and elaborated tables, as well as raw anonymised microdata

ASCII zip file following a register design file (EXCEL format)

The website is in Spanish and English, but some technical documents and record design files are available only in Spanish. Methodological information can be accessed in Spanish and English


Data refer to January 1 of each year. Homogenised data are offered for the period of 1998-2013.


All residents in Spain

Registry run at municipal level

Spain, regions, provinces, municipalities, census tracts and islands

No age restrictions

Provinces, municipalities, census tracts and islands.

Everyone who lives in Spain, without distinguishing between nationality or legal status, is obliged to register in the Municipal Register, according to the Local Regime Law (7/1985), but registration only contains administrative and personal information: name and surname, sex, address, nationality, birth place and date, National Identity Card (Spanish) or ID document (foreigners), school or academic title. Variables available: place of residence, sex, age, nationality and place of birth

• Cortina, C., & Esteve, A., & Cabre,A. “¿Con quiénes se unen los latinoamericanos en España? Respuestas a partir de tres fuentes estadísticas”. Notas de población 86 (2009): 19 -38. Available at:ón_2009.pdf
• Huete, R., & Mantecón, A.” Los límites entre el turismo y la migración residencial. Una tipología”. Papers 95(3) (2010): 781-801. Available at:
• Reher, D., & Requena, M., & Sanz, A. “¿España en la encrucijada? Consideraciones sobre el cambio de ciclo migratorio”. Revista Internacional de Sociología 69(1) (2011): 9-44. DOI:10.3989/ris.2011.iM1.385 • Rodríguez, V., & Lardiés, R., & Rodríguez, P. ”La migración y el registro de los jubilados europeos en España”. Demografía y Población ARI 20 (2010): 8. Available at:
• Roquer, S., & Blay, J.”Del éxodo rural a la inmigración extranjera: el papel de la población extranjera en la recuperación demográfica de las zonas rurales españolas (1996-2006)”. Scripta Nova 12 270 (129). Available at:
• Sanz, B. et al. “Pattern of health services use by immigrants from different regions of the world residing in Spain”. International Journal of Public Health 56(5) (2011): 567-576. DOI 10.1007/s00038-011-0237-9


The official list of municipalities, provinces, regions and autonomous city codes are deployed for territorial breakdowns, as well as the standard list of countries for nationality and birth country.

Data from the Municipal Register are the official population figures in Spain for administrative purposes, which are established in the law, but there are differences with those obtained from the Population Estimates and Census of Population - which are the reference population figures for all statistical purposes and which are the figures transmitted at international level since the methodology followed is different. Even the Residential Variation Statistics are not entirely consistent with the Municipal Register, in spite of being derived from the same source. The National Identity Card (Spanish) or ID document (foreigners) is the available variable that allows for linkage among databases, though it is not compulsory for Spanish children under 14, and other personal data are necessary for linking (name, surnames and date of birth), and foreigners can have different documents (passport or residence permit). This ID information is not provided with the microdata files due to anonymisation procedures.

Data quality

Permanent controls to detect and correct errors in order to ensure the quality are set up. The volume of errors detected is small and the percentage data quality, records in which a correction is made, is very small (approx. 0.4%). Data come from municipal registers of residents, who are managed by each municipality to perform a continuous process of updating and cleaning data, and the INE is responsible for the coordination and for avoiding data duplication between municipalities. Its main advantage is that every record has the individual’s information, which makes it possible to obtain cross-tables with all the variables, with the exception of the level of education having low reliability. No sampling errors occur because it is an official register to serve as a proof of residence for many administrative formalities. Spaniards who move abroad are removed from the register if they are counted in the Spanish Consular Registers; if not, they could continue officially ‘living in Spain’ until the official revision of the Municipal Register occurs. Foreigners who are officially registered in Spain and later left Spain to move to another country may remain enrolled in the Register for 2 or 5 years (depending on if they belong to an EU country and the type of residence permit in their possession) until a revocation or no enrolment procedure is performed. Variation between the provisional and final Spanish population figures is only 0.15%, due to the objections claimed by municipalities.

No breaks in contents are reported since 1998 when this register was homogenized under the umbrella of the Local Regime Law (7/1985). Nevertheless, until 2002, in some cases, there is no exact correlation between the figures derived from the files and those approved officially for which it is necessary to use correction factors. The correlation factors are calculated on a register level that on occasions gives rise to differences in some units between the official figures and those that are featured in the tables. In some provinces it has not been possible that the INE has all of the municipality files when starting the statistical operation of the register for which the information for these municipalities does not appear in the tables obtained on a municipal level. In view of all of the above, the information generated on a provincial, autonomous and national level contains the population of the municipalities mentioned distributed by means of the application of correction factors. However, as of 2003 these deficiencies have been corrected, and it has not been necessary since then to use correction factors. There is now a total match between the official figures and those existing in the operation tables.

As data serve for administrative purpose and are regulated by law, no inconsistencies can be found in harmonized files


Strengths: The registry covers the total population, has a large geographical scope, continuous registration, statistical fairness, and has an exhaustive control of all those registered. Weaknesses: The registry has scarce demographic data and administrative purpose.

  • The information about this dataset was compiled by the author:
  • Vicente Rodríguez
  • (see Partners)