With 82,842 inhabitants, Torrevieja is no longer among the five most populated cities in the Valencian Community. It has been relegated to sixth place by Torrent, a city located in the metropolitan area of Valencia, with 84,025 officially registered in the January census by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). The same data relegates Orihuela to seventh.
In the last three decades Torrevieja has been positioned in fifth place in the ranking by number of inhabitants in the Community, only behind Valencia, Alicante, Elche and Castellón. However, it is still the third largest city by population in the province, although by a narrow margin from Orihuela (78,940 registered), which is followed by Benidorm (with 69,118), Alcoy (59,128 inhabitants), San Vicente del Raspeig (58,912) and Elda (with 52,551).
The official figures, however, still do not reflect the population reality of some municipalities. Torrent has not registered an urban and demographic growth as spectacular as that of Torrevieja in the last forty years, but it has been constant and regular. Now it is one of the cities in the country with the highest demand for first homes.
The gap between the INE data and the registers of each of the municipalities, especially in the tourist areas, is beginning to occur again year after year.
Torrevieja’s growth in the last half century has been meteoric but it was brought to a sudden halt by the 2008 economic crisis and has stabilised since then. In the mid-1970s the municipality was a town with barely more than 8,000 inhabitants. It was then that the first urban developments began to be approved which began the lift-off of its demographic development, but, between 2014 and 2016 the official census was reduced by more than 20,000 residents.
Despite this, while the number of inhabitants reflected in the INE data has not really changed since 2016, the municipality continues to update and incorporate new residents year on year. As such, the Torrevieja City Council now shows 5,500 residents more than those listed in the INE, to once again reach 88,000.
After the health crisis, the city is experiencing a new boost in housing demand and in the next two years, thousands of new homes will be built on almost two million square meters in La Hoya, the last developable land that remains in the municipal area.
The municipality continues to be the largest in the country in terms of the total volume of second homes – second residences-: more than 62,000, well above any other tourist destination.
Other INE data that reflects the mobility and characteristics of a municipality specialized in residential tourism is the number of foreign residents in Torrevieja: of the 82,842 residents, 33,587 are foreigners – it has lost almost 1,500 foreign residents in the two years of the pandemic-.
The main nationalities, by numerical importance, are British, Russian and Ukrainian, followed by Moroccans and Germans. More than 20% of the total population is 65 or older: the number of annual deaths in 2019, before the pandemic, was around 850 but there were only 570 births and the average age in Torrevieja is close to 46 years. 35% of households are individual: they are made up of a single member.