The latest Human Pressure Index from the Balearic Statistics Institute shows that in 2017 there were on average 1,498,230 people per day on the islands. This average was 486,072 more than twenty years ago.
The official resident population in the Balearics for 2017 was 1,115,999. The difference per day is therefore just over 380,000.
The peak was on 7 August, when there were 2,060,526 people. The low was 1,104,091 on 23 December. On 18 December 1997, this low was 743,385. On average in August, the month when there is the greatest human pressure, there were 1,996,370 people. In 1997, this average was 1,371,364. On 7 August in that year, the number was 1,423,380.
The figures clearly reflect a growth in both the fixed and the temporary populations. Tourists account for most of the latter but they aren't the only temporary category; there is a significant floating population comprising different types of worker.
The population growth in the Balearics contrasts with the situation in certain other regions of Spain. In Asturias, Castile and Leon and Galicia, the population has decreased in the past twenty years.
The human pressure naturally raises issues concerning services, resources and infrastructure. It also inevitably fuels the debate with regard to limits on tourist numbers.
* What size of population can the Balearics bear? Can anyone really come up with a definitive figure? One of the leading academics in this field is Ivan Murray from the University of the Balearic Islands. Murray, whose views coincide with the left and the environmentalists, was once asked - this was back in 2010 - what the ideal population would be. He didn't really answer this but said that twelve million tourists were "an aberration without comparison in the whole world". Last year, the combination of Spanish and foreign tourists pushed that number up to sixteen million.
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