Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. Located on the Manzanares River in the center of Spain, it is bordered by the autonomous communities of Castile and Leon and Castile-La Mancha. In 2014, Madrid has an estimated population of 3.3 million, which makes it the third largest city in the European Union behind London and Berlin.
Madrid has an estimated population of 3.3 million, but the population of the Madrid metropolitan area is estimated to be about 6.5 million. This is the third-largest metropolitan area in the European Union behind London and Paris.
City Size and Population Density
Madrid has 40 surrounding municipalities that create the Madrid metropolitan area with a total area of 5,335.97 square kilometres (2,060.23 square miles). There are two zones of urbanization: an inner ring and outer ring. The largest suburbs are in the South along the roads out of Madrid.
The city has a population density of 5,400 people per square kilometer, or 14,000 per square mile.
An improving Spanish economy led to a demographic boom in Madrid in the late 1990s and the early 21st century with international immigration. Madrid has long attracted immigrants from around the world. Nearly 84% of the city's population are Spaniards, while those of other origins account for more than 16% of the population.
The largest immigrant groups in Madrid include:
- Ecuadorian: 104,000
- Romanian: 53,000
- Bolivian: 44,000
- Colombian: 36,000
- Peruvian: 35,000
- Chinese: 35,000
- Moroccan: 33,000
- Dominican: 20,000
- Brazilian: 15,000
- Paraguayan: 14,000
There are also large groups of Filipinos, Bulgarians, Indians, Italians, Argentines, Senegalese, Poles and Equatorial Guineans in the city. Immigrants are largely concentrated in specific districts of Madrid, including Usera (28.4%), Centro (27%), Carabanchel (23%), and Tetuan 22%).
Present-day Madrid has been occupied since prehistoric times. Its population was first Iberian and then Roman. It is believed the original settlement was called Matrice. Madrid was not mentioned in history until the 10th century, when there was already a castle or fort at the site of the present-day Royal Palace. The fort was occupied by the Moors, who named it Mayrit (later Madrid). The walls of this settlement are still visible today.
The Moors kept control of Madrid until it was conquered in 1085 by Alfonso VI. The king ordered the mosque in the fort's walls "purified" and consecrated as a Catholic church under the guidance of the Virgin of the Almudena, which became Madrid's female patron saint.
In the centuries to come, Madrid developed quickly. The Main Square was built under John II in the 13th century. Enrique III later ordered the construction of of the El Pardo Palace and the city continued growing. In 1561, the Spanish Court was transferred from Toledo to Madrid.
By the 20th century, Madrid became the largest GDP city in Spain and third in Western Europe. The city boasts modern infrastructure yet the feel of many historic neighborhoods. Like many European cities, Madrid watched its population drop from the 1970s through the 1990s as people spread to the suburbs, but the city began surging again in the 1990s.
Madrid Population Growth
Madrid's population growth has been fairly stable in the last few years at just 1.4%, only slightly above the national average of 1.2%. The city is expected to continue its stable growth in the coming decade.