Joint Programming Initiative

More Years, Better Lives

The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change

Residential Variation Statistics (1998-2011)
Estadística de Variaciones Residenciales (1998-2011)

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.jimenez(at)

Timeliness, transparency

Final results are published in June of the following year after collection.

Type of data


Type of Study

Register to record any personal residence change

Data gathering method


Access to data

On site free access to defined tables and microdata files for scientific purpose and elaboration - Free access in Spanish to defined tables - Anonymized microdata in Spanish and English

Conditions of access

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

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

Aggregated and elaborated tables, in addition to 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 (


Microdata is available for the period 1988-2011.


All residents in Spain

Municipal register

Tables are provided on the following levels: national, autonomous regions, province and municipalities

No age restrictions

Different geographical scales until anonymity is preserved. Provincial, province capital cities and municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. (Since 2011 all the municipalities)

The Residential Variation Statistics (RVS) are compiled by the INE from the registrations and cancellations due to changes of residence registered in the Municipal Registers, reflected up to the month of March of the year following the reference year. Results have internal (among Spanish municipalities) and external variations (movements from or to foreign countries). Other variations (by omission, for undue inscription and by expiration) do not correspond strictly to migratory movements, but rather, to "administrative adjustments" of the Municipal Register. Annual residential variations do not refer to the number of persons involved in a residential variation, but to the number of variations made (movement), since a citizen might change his/her residence from one municipality to another more than once in a year. RVS data cover inter-municipal movements, so a portion of these have their origin and destination in municipalities from the same province or region, respectively. Residential balances are both internal (among the different municipalities of Spain) and external (between the municipalities of Spain and abroad) Both internal and external variations have been tabulated separately for Spaniards and foreign nationals. The data on residential variations is presented according to the following variables: origin and/or destination of the movement, sex, age, nationality, place of birth, size of the municipalities of origin and destination, relationship between origin and destination.

• Bledsoe, C.H. “Sociocultural anthropology’s encounters with large public data sets: The case of the Spanish Municipal Register”. Anthropological Theory 10 (2010): 103-111. • Fernández Vázquez, E., & Salomé García Muñiz, A., & Ramos Carvajal, C. “The impact of immigration on interregional migrations: an input–output analysis with an application for Spain". Annals of Regional Science 46(19) (2011): 189-204. Available at:
. • López i Villanueva, C., & Pujadas i Rubies, I., & Bayona i Carrasco, J. ”Households in the residential mobility process: Family structure and housing characteristics in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region”. Enhr Conference (2011): 19. Available at:
. • Neubecker, N., & Smolka, M. “Co-national and Cross-national Pulls in International Migration to Spain”. International Review of Economics & Finance (2013). Available at:
. • Rodríguez, V., & Egea, C., & Nieto, J.A. “Return migration in Andalusia, Spain.” International Journal of Population Geography 8(3) (2002): 233–254. DOI: 10.1002/ijpg.258.


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

The National Identity Card (Spanish) or ID document (foreigners) is the variable that allows the linkage among databases, though it is not compulsory for Spanish children under 14, and other personal data are necessary for linkage (name, surnames and date of birth), and in the case of foreigners, they can have different documents (passport or residence permit). This ID information is not provided with the microdata files due to anonymisation procedures.

Data quality

The Residential Variation Statistics (RVS) are compiled using the records from the Municipal Register, but the net balance calculated from RVS (the difference between external registrations and cancellations due to residential variation) does not coincide with the balance obtained as the difference between the population figures from the register and the natural increase produced during the year. These discrepancies are caused by some methodological procedures (variations included during the allegation period, registrations by omission by Spaniards, cancellations for undue inscription by Spaniards, other previous temporal variations). Other mismatches are coming from the differences due to entries that are neither renewed, nor cancelled after the expiration date of the registration of those non-EU foreign nationals without a permanent residence permit.

Changes on information provided have occurred in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010. In 1988, RVS documents were implemented and computerised (a single Registration/Cancellation document allowing for greater filtering of the data, and a significant improvement in the data quality). In 1996 and 2001, again, changes in the management system were established for Municipal registers, coordinated by the INE. As for the publication of statistical results, the changes have meant substantial improvements, including the name of the operation, which took the name Residential Variations Statistics in 1999. Since 2002, foreign emigration was incorporated, bearing in mind cancellations due to change of residence communicated by City Councils, which mainly refer to movements of Spaniards abroad that have been registered in Consular Office Registers. Similarly, some foreign national cancellations are covered, but only to the extent that City councils have knowledge of their return abroad, which occurs in an unknown percentage of cases. The substantial difference between registered cancellations of Spaniards and of foreign nationals is due to the fact that registry legislation includes communication to Municipal Councils of the registrations of Spaniards produced in the Consular Office Registers, while for foreigners this is not possible. As of 2006, cancellations by expiration have been incorporated in the foreign emigration results.

In 2010, the concepts contained in the publication thus far (migration, immigration and emigration ) were adjusted to others more related to the management of Municipal registers. Residential variations (up until 2010, Migration): Change of residence from one municipality to another, moving abroad or arriving from abroad. Since 2004, the entries and exits of foreign nationals have been incorporated in the foreign migration tables, in which the country of origin or destination is not recorded (registrations by omission and cancellations for undue inscription, respectively, in the Municipal Registers).
 Registration due to residential variation (up until 2010, Immigration): Change of residence to a Spanish municipality: • internal residential variation: the origin is another municipality within the national territory • residential variation from abroad: the origin is (a country) abroad. Cancellation due to residential variation (up until 2010, Outmigration): Change of residence from a Spanish municipality. • internal residential variation: the destination is a municipality within the Spanish territory • residential variation to a foreign country: the destination is (a country) abroad. Balance due to residential variation (up until 2010, Migratory balance): Difference between the number of registrations and cancellations due to residential variation


Strengths: This registry includes the total population, has a large geographical scope, continuous registration, statistical fairness, and has exhaustive control of all registered residents. Weaknesses: It has scarce demographic data due to the administrative purpose of the Municipal Register where these data are taken from.

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