MADRID, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- As many as 7,000 Spaniards left Spain each month last year in addition to thousands of expatriates who returned to their home countries, records indicate.
Spain's Institute of National Statistics (INE) said in the third quarter alone 55,000 Spaniards left their home country, 20 percent more than during the same period the previous year, Think Spain reported Wednesday.
INE said nearly 1 million people left Spain in 2012, although all but 118,000 were expatriates. Spain's national unemployment rate topped 26 percent at the end of 2012.
The exodus is blamed on the country's current economic climate with job vacancies practically non-existent and little opportunity for career advancement.
Unemployed Spaniards are heading to countries like Germany where vacancies exist in engineering and the hotel and catering sectors.
Spain's population continues to decline, partly due to a falling birthrate.
A recent survey showed eight in 10 couples or single women who want to have babies have chosen not have them because of the expense.