Barcelona is the most populous city in Catalonia and eleventh in the European Union, the second non-state capital after Hamburg. It is the main urban core of the metropolitan region of Barcelona with a population of 4,774,561 and the metropolitan area of Barcelona, united by 36 municipalities, with a population of 3,225,058 inhabitants. In a 2005 study by the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs, Barcelona was ranked 51st with the most populous population in the world.
Modern Barcelona grew by the annexation of neighboring municipalities, which are now city districts.
The division of the official quarters was proposed by the Barcelona City Council at the end of 2006 and ratified and approved by the Barcelona City Council in 2007. Even after the final approval, there are complaints from residents about the names given to some areas.
Each district is subdivided into quarters as an administrative unit. In some cases, administrative regions are a group of several smaller historical regions. The current delimitation of seventy-three districts was adopted in 2006.
Barcelona is divided into ten districts (73 quarters):
The Ciutat Vella is one of the ten districts of Barcelona. It is a district 1 and borders Sants-Montjuïc to the south, the Eixample to the west, Sant Martí to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the east. It occupies a territory of 436.8 hectares, has a population of 100,451 inhabitants (data from 2019) and, therefore, a density of 230 inhabitants per hectare. It corresponds geographically to the historic center of the city. The current extension of the district corresponds approximately to the area within the walls between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries, except for the neighborhood of Barceloneta, which was outside.
The Eixample is one of the ten districts of the city of Barcelona. It comprises a territory of 7.48 km², where 269,185 inhabitants live (according to 2019), making it the most populous district in the city. It includes the neighborhoods of La Dreta de l’Eixample, l’Esquerra de l’Eixample (Old and New Left of the Eixample), Sant Antoni, the Sagrada Família and Fort Pienc. It is bounded on the north by the districts of Sants-Montjuïc, Les Corts, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, Gràcia and Horta-Guinardó; to the south with those of Ciutat Vella and Sant Martí; to the east with the one of Sant Martí; and to the west with that of Sants-Montjuïc.
Sants-Montjuïc is one of the ten districts of the city of Barcelona. It is a district 3, located in the south of the city and it is the largest in Barcelona with an area of 2,294 hectares. It borders the municipality of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and El Prat de Llobregat, it also borders the Barcelona districts of Les Corts, L’Eixample and Ciutat Vella. On January 1, 2019, there were 184,543 inhabitants.
Les Corts is one of the ten districts of the city of Barcelona. It is a district 4 and it is made up of the neighborhoods of Pedralbes, Sant Ramon and La Maternitat and the neighborhood of Les Corts. It borders the municipality of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat to the south and the district of Sants-Montjuïc, the north with the district of Sarrià – Sant Gervasi, the east with the Eixample and the west with the municipalities of Esplugues de Llobregat and Sant Just Desvern.
Sarrià – Sant Gervasi is one of the ten districts of Barcelona. In 2019, according to the INE, it had 145,489 inhabitants. It is located in the northwest of the city and borders on the north with the districts of Gràcia and Horta-Guinardó, on the south with Les Corts, on the east with the Eixample and on the west with the municipalities of Sant Cugat del Vallès, Molins de Rei, Sant Feliu de Llobregat and Sant Just Desvern. It inherited the old municipalities of Sarrià and Sant Gervasi de Cassoles, added to Barcelona in 1921 and 1897, respectively.
This district marks its status as a residential and affluent area, with numerous parks and green areas, combined with prestigious Catholic charter schools and several health centers.
Gràcia is one of the ten districts of the city of Barcelona. It borders the Eixample at the bottom, Sarrià – Sant Gervasi to the west and Horta-Guinardó to the north. In 2019 it had 121,789 inhabitants. It inherited the old town of Gràcia, added to Barcelona in 1897.
Horta-Guinardó is a district of the city of Barcelona. It is the third largest district, after Sants-Montjuïc and Sarrià – Sant Gervasi. With a surface of 1,194.7 hectares, it represents 11.9% of the total extension of the municipality. Its population was 171,961 in 2019.
Heir to the former municipality of Horta, added to that of Barcelona in 1897, the territory that today occupies the district of Horta-Guinardó has been integrated late into the Barcelona area. It was not affected by the process of industrialization of the Barcelona plan in the nineteenth century, nor did it suffer the urban growth of other nuclei of the city until the mid-fifties; then the chaotic construction of unconditional areas and the existence of shantytowns were combined with the creation of some quality residential areas.
Nou Barris is a district of Barcelona at the northern end of the city, between the Sierra de Collserola and Avinguda Meridiana.
The Sant Andreu district is the ninth of the ten districts of Barcelona, with an area of 656.5 hectares and a population of 147,538 inhabitants (2019). It was one of the municipalities independent of the Barcelona plan; the main nucleus was the current district of Sant Andreu de Palomar, which gave its name to the municipality. In addition to the neighborhoods of Sant Andreu, the neighborhoods of the current Nou Barris district and part of the Horta-Guinardó district also belonged to the old municipality.
Sant Martí is a 10th district of Barcelona located in the east of the city, bordering the municipality of Sant Adrià de Besòs, the districts of Ciutat Vella, the Eixample, Horta-Guinardó and Sant Andreu and the Mediterranean Sea. It inherited the municipality of Sant Martí de Provençals, added to that of Barcelona in 1897.
The Sant Martí district concentrates most of Barcelona’s beaches in its 2,675 meters of coastline. With 1,038.7 hectares and 238,315 inhabitants (2019), it is the fourth largest district in the city and the second most populous.
The Metropolitan District of Barcelona (cat. L’Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona) is a municipal administrative unit, founded in 2010, formed by Barcelona and 36 other municipalities with a population of over 3.2 million. Thus, it unites part of the Barcelona metropolitan region, a geographical area that extends beyond the administrative zone and is one of the most densely populated areas in Europe.
The current administrative border covers an area of 636 sq. km, although the 1968 law originally defined it as a much larger area covering 3297 km². 48% of its territory is urbanization, and the remaining 52% occupies 25 km of beaches and more than 25,000 hectares of natural areas.
Within the metropolis, there are three large areas: the agricultural area of the Llobregat delta, the urbanized areas of the Barcelona plain and the green spaces of the Garraf, Collserola and Marina mountain ranges.
It is the most important metropolitan area in the western Mediterranean and generates half of Catalonia’s GDP.
|L’Hospitalet de Llobregat||Barcelonès||261.068||12,4|
|Santa Coloma de Gramenet||Barcelonès||118.821||7,0|
|Sant Cugat del Vallès||Vallès Occidental||90.664||48,2|
|Cornellà de Llobregat||Baix Llobregat||87.173||7,0|
|Sant Boi de Llobregat||Baix Llobregat||82.904||21,5|
|El Prat de Llobregat||Baix Llobregat||64.132||31,4|
|Cerdanyola del Vallès||Vallès Occidental||57.740||30,6|
|Esplugues de Llobregat||Baix Llobregat||46.355||4,6|
|Sant Feliu de Llobregat||Baix Llobregat||44.474||11,8|
|Sant Adrià de Besòs||Barcelonès||36.669||3,8|
|Montcada i Reixac||Vallès Occidental||35.599||23,5|
|Sant Joan Despí||Baix Llobregat||34.084||6,2|
|Barberà del Vallès||Vallès Occidental||32.839||8,3|
|Sant Vicenç dels Horts||Baix Llobregat||27.901||9,1|
|Sant Andreu de la Barca||Baix Llobregat||27.332||5,5|
|Molins de Rei||Baix Llobregat||25.687||15,9|
|Sant Just Desvern||Baix Llobregat||17.494||7,8|
|Corbera de Llobregat||Baix Llobregat||14.643||18,4|
|Badia del Vallès||Vallès Occidental||13.417||0,9|
|Santa Coloma de Cervelló||Baix Llobregat||8.179||7,5|
|Torrelles de Llobregat||Baix Llobregat||5.945||13,6|
|Sant Climent de Llobregat||Baix Llobregat||4.107||10,8|
|El Papiol||Baix Llobregat||4.103||9,0|
|La Palma de Cervelló||Baix Llobregat||2.982||5,5|
Photo: Alex Monroe