Is Barcelona bigger than Madrid?

David Girones

Updated on:

Is bigger Barcelona than Madrid

This type of question where we compare two cities is quite common, as an example Is Barcelona bigger than Madrid? Sometimes it is difficult to remember the population of each city or how the population has evolved since the last time we looked at the data. 

Barcelona and Madrid population

Population of Barcelona

Barcelona, famous for its Modernist architecture, according to the 2021 census provided by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística has a population of 1.63 million people.

Population of Madrid

In the case of Madrid, the capital of Spain, the number of people living in the city according to the 2021 census is 3.3 million.

So if your question is:

How big is Barcelona compared to Madrid? 

Considering the population of each city, Barcelona is smaller than Madrid, according to 2021 census data.

Barcelona with 1.63 million people and Madrid with 3.3 million, so Barcelona has 1.66 million less people than Madrid.

Population trend of Barcelona and Madrid

According to the historical record, since 1996 the population of Barcelona has grown by 8.48% and the population of Madrid has grown by 15.30%.

Taking into consideration that the growth in population of Barcelona is smaller than Madrid, the difference in population will be growing in the long run.

Is Barcelona’s total land area bigger than Madrid?

Usually in a comparative question between two cities we want to know in which city lives more people. However, there is another unit of measurement that also refers to the size of the city and this is the total area.

In the case of the area comparison between Barcelona and Madrid, the total area of Barcelona is smaller than Madrid.

Barcelona has a total area of 39.15 sq mi (101.4 km²) and Madrid, capital of Spain, has 233.89 sq mi (605.77 km²).

Which city has a higher population density? Barcelona or Madrid

There is a third metric that is often used to compare cities, which is based on the two data points we presented earlier: population and area.

Population density is obtained by dividing the number of individuals living within a specific location by the total area of the location. In our comparisons as a unit of area we use square miles and km².

If the question we are trying to solve is whether the population density is greater in Barcelona or Madrid, we must inform you that the population density is larger in Barcelona.

Barcelona Population Density

The density of Barcelona, capital of Catalonia, is 41806.1/sq mi (16141.34/km²). 

Population Density of Madrid

The population density of Madrid is 14132.44/sq mi (5456.5/km²). 

Population density for both Barcelona and Madrid, has been calculated using only land area, ignoring any water area belonging to the city.

Is Barcelona bigger than Madrid
Barcelona is smaller than Madrid

Conclusion on which city is bigger Barcelona or Madrid

As we have been able to observe with the data provided in the comparison between both cities, Barcelona is a smaller city than Madrid in terms of population.

On the other hand, in terms of total area Barcelona is also smaller than Madrid and if what we take into account is the population density, then we must indicate that the density of Barcelona is larger than Madrid.

Although Barcelona is not bigger, it is worth mentioning that Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, the most populated city in Catalonia and of course also the most populated in the province of Barcelona. However, if we take in consideration the area and not population, the city with the largest area of Catalonia is Tremp with 116.78 sq mi (302.47 km²).

Madrid and Barcelona are the most important cities in the country and although the comparison in size is clearly in favor of Madrid, both cities present a constant rivalry in multiple fields such as sports, culture, politics and also in the economic field.

Other cities compared with London or Barcelona

Sources Used:

All information regarding number of people and annual population growth is extracted from Instituto Nacional de Estadística databases.

The total area data of each city has been extracted from Wikipedia.

Photo by Alessio Rinella en Unsplash