• Foreign nationality population;
  • international immigration;
  • residential mobility;
  • suburbanisation;
  • Barcelona metropolitan area


In this last decade, Spanish urban areas have received large amounts of international immigrants, modifying (sub)urban dynamics. The paper specifically explores the metropolitan region of Barcelona (RMB), where, between 1998 and 2009, foreign nationality residents rose from 1.8 to 14.9 per cent of total population. Research focuses on the impact of foreign immigration on three specific dynamics: population growth and distribution/segregation of both Spanish and foreign populations within the metropolitan area; their respective residential mobility patterns; and consequences on their age and sex structure. Results show that there are remarkable differences between the two populations: foreign immigrants have preferably settled in the core city's least affluent neighbourhoods and, in a second phase, in inner ring municipalities, while the Spanish population continues to move to suburban municipalities.