Camino Pilgrims Come from Many Nations

Fig. 1 - All nationalities who received compostelas -- the Spaniards are by far the greatest numbers.

Here’s the last of my installments on the Cathedral of Santiago’s pilgrim statistics. As you will recall, the Cathedral publishes online stats¬†about pilgrims who’ve received their compostelas during the prior month. The statistics includes some revealing details. The chart in Fig. 1 shows the percentage of Spanish pilgrims each year since 2005. In most years Spaniards comprise more than 45% of all pilgrims. In the Holy Year of 2010 this number increased to over 60%, while pushing down the percentage of non-Spaniards who walked that year. The next highest group is “Other” (not listed on the legend) which comprises a variety of the less-than 10 ten nationalities. The largest single nationality below that is Germans.

Fig. 2 - Non-Spanish nationalities. "Other" is the largest percentage, with Germans the largest single non-Spanish nationality.

Fig. 2 spells out the non-Spanish numbers a little better. “Other” is still the largest group, meaning these nationalities include too many individual countries to make the top groupings, but countries when combined equal a large percentage. The largest groupings of these nationalities are from Japan, Korea, Australia, Mexico, Poland, and Belgium.

The largest single non-Spanish nationality represented on the camino is German. In fact, the top four non-Spanish nationalities are pretty clear in the stats — Germany, Italy, France and Portugal, in that order. Well below these nationalities are a third tier: USA, UK, Canada, Brazil, Ireland, and Holland. So the profile of the “average” pilgrim is pretty much a Western European, with folk from other continents a much smaller percentage of the total.

Not shown is another interesting stat: Spanish pilgrims flood the camino in July and August, when they comprise roughly 2/3 of all pilgrims. The percentages of non-Spanish pilgrims, particularly German, nearly double in the shoulder months of May/June and September/October.