Form of Government: Constitutional monarchy
Area: 505 968 sq km
Population: 47 174 933 inhab. (estimate 2021)
Density: 93.24 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 44° - 36° N; long. 9° W - 4° E
Capital: Madrid (capital) 3 334 730 inhab. (2020); Madrid 6 006 000 inhab. (2020), urban agglomeration
Currency: euro (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.904 (rank: 25)
Sovereign: King Felipe VI de Borbón, since 19 June 2014
Prime Minister: Pedro Sanchez (PSOE), since 2 June 2018, re-elected 13 January 2020
Congress of Deputies: seats (August 2021 update): PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), 116; PP (People's Party, centre-right), 88; VOX (far-right), 52; Unidas Podemos (left-wing alliance), 35; ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia), 13; Ciudadanos (Citizens, centre), 9; PNV (Basque Nationalist Party), 6; others, 31
Internet: www.ine.es (Instituto Nacional de Estadística)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, NATO, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO
International license plate code E
International dialling code 0034
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .es
GMT Madrid +1; Canary Islands 0
DST Madrid +2; Canary Islands +1
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Madrid 14.2; Barcelona 15.4; Las Palmas (Canarie) 20.5; Santander 14.3; Siviglia 18.3
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Madrid 6/24.5; Barcelona 9/23; Las Palmas (Canarie) 18/22; Santander 9.5/19; Siviglia 10/27
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Madrid 11/5; Barcelona 9/4; Las Palmas (Canarie) 11/6; Santander 6/2; Siviglia 11/5
Annual average precipitation (mm) Madrid 465; Barcelona 660; Las Palmas (Canarie) 204; Santander 1240; Siviglia 578
Days of rainfall (annual average) Madrid 94; Barcelona 70; Las Palmas (Canarie) 30; Santander 178; Siviglia 80
Politics and current affairs
After the first few weeks in summer 2020, which were relatively under control in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, Spain was hit by several waves of infection. A curfew was one of the restrictions introduced by the government. The Spanish people have embraced the vaccination campaign; on 22 August 2021, 74.7% had received a first dose.
The Spanish government led by socialist Sanchez pardoned (22 June 2021) nine pro-independence Catalan leaders who had been imprisoned for their role in the attempted secession of 2017. At the Catalan elections held on 14 February 2021, the amount of votes obtained by pro-independent parties exceeded 51% (up from 47% in 2017). The Madrid Autonomous Community elections were won by People’s Party (PP) candidate, Isabel Díaz Ayuso. On 18 March 2021, Spain became the fifth country in Europe to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia for patients suffering from incurable, long-term diseases and persons with intolerable permanent clinical conditions.
In summer 2021, the country was hit by heat waves with record highs of 47.2 °C in Montoro (Córdoba).
The preliminary agreement with the United Kingdom would have enabled Gibraltar to stay in the Schengen Zone and avoid a hard border on the border with Spain.
Spain is bordered by France and Andorra to the north-east and Portugal to the west. The Mediterranean Sea lies off its east and south-east coast and the Atlantic Ocean off its south-west and north-west coast.
It comprises two archipelagoes: the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The country is made up of a vast plateau, the Meseta Central, which slopes gently to the west with an average altitude of between 600 m and 1000 m. The Meseta is surrounded by the Cordillera Cantábrica and the Pyrenees to the north, the Sistema Ibérico to the east, and the Sierra Morena to the south. The highest mountains are in the Sistema Bético, to the south: Cerro Mulhacén, in the Sierra Nevada is 3482 m above sea-level. The most important rivers are the River Ebro, Miño, Duero, Tagus, Guadiana and the Guadalquivir. The climate is predominantly Mediterranean continental, except in the north (oceanic), and in the southern coast (subtropical arid).
The Balearic Islands comprise the islands of Majorca (3624 km²), Minorca (695 km²), Ibiza (570 km²), Formentera (81 km²), Cabrera and other minor islets.
The Canary Islands, which are physically part of Africa, comprise the islands of Fuerteventura (1660 km²), Gran Canaria (1560 km²), Lanzarote (846 km²), Tenerife (2034 km²), La Palma (708 km²), La Gomera (370 km²), El Hierro (269 km²) and other minor islands.
In 1975, Spain emerged from almost 40 years of dictatorship following the death of General Francisco Franco, who had been in power since the Civil War (1936-39).
The transition to democracy was guided by the moderate parties and the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, with the active support of the monarchy. The Constitution of 1978 entrusts legislative power to the Parliament (Las Cortes Generales), comprising the Congress of Deputies (350 members) and the Senate, both elected directly for four years (57 of the current 265 senators are appointed by the parliaments of the autonomous communities into which Spain is divided). The Prime Minister is elected by Parliament after being put forward by the King. The autonomous regions have a large amount of power: the 17 autonomous communities created in 1983 wield considerable power, to such an extent that Spain verges on having a federal structure.
The army is completely professional. The Spanish police are called the Guardia Civil.
According to the Criminal Code of 1996, the maximum jail sentence is 30 years, except in the case of life imprisonment.
|Madrid||3 334 730||inhab.||2020|
|Barcelona||1 664 182||inhab.||2020|
|Madrid||6 006 000||inhab.||2020|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2020)|
|Foreigners, total||5 434 153||units||2020|
The global economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the restrictions introduced to slow infections caused the GDP to slump by 11% in 2020 (the worst in Europe for an advanced economy). The tourism and restaurant sectors have been particularly hard hit. 6.4% growth is expected in 2021. The unemployment rate is due to rise from 15.5% in 2020 to 16.8% in 2021.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||103.64||index||2016|
|Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)||105.95||index||2019|
|Active population||22 733 300||units||2020|
|Active population, Females||46.7||%||2020|
|Unemployment rate, Females||52.4||%||2020|
|Expenses||288 744||M LCU||2020|
|Revenues||194 793||M LCU||2020|
|Currency in circulation||162.332||BN LCU||2020|
|International reserves||81 287.702||M US$||2020|
Spain ranks second in the EU for the amount of land devoted to agricultural activities. Technological innovations in the sector have allowed for a large increase in agricultural production. Fruit and vegetables are produced the most. The country is the top olive exporter in the world and the top producer of citruses in Europe.
The country’s abundant wine production isn’t at the levels of France and Italy. The agricultural sector was hit by the absence of migrant labour during the health crisis of 2020.
Livestock and fishing.
Pastoralism and rearing occupy most of the country’s farming lands. Sheep rearing is famous thanks to the precious wool of the Merino breed. Spanish rearing produces significant amounts of pork, beef and dairy products.
There is a healthy fishing industry; the main ports are Vigo, Pasajes, Corunna, Huelva, Algeciras and Cadiz.
|barley||7 744.15||1000 t||2019|
|cereals, total||20 589.03||1000 t||2019|
|potatoes||2 259.32||1000 t||2019|
|roots and tubers, total||2 259.32||1000 t||2019|
|beans, dry||17.091||1000 t||2018|
|beans, green||143.29||1000 t||2019|
|grapes||5 745.45||1000 t||2019|
|olives||5 965.08||1000 t||2019|
|sugar beet||2 752.71||1000 t||2019|
|seed cotton||156||1000 t||2018|
|flax fibre and tow||0.019||1000 t||2018|
|hemp tow waste||0.29||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits||6 010.05||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits, nes||1.48||1000 t||2019|
|barley||2 693.51||1000 ha||2019|
|sweet potatoes||2.36||1000 ha||2018|
|beans, dry||9.315||1000 ha||2018|
|beans, green||7.54||1000 ha||2019|
|olive||2 601.9||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar beet||30.18||1000 ha||2019|
|seed cotton||65.121||1000 ha||2018|
|flax fibre and tow||0.017||1000 ha||2018|
|hemp tow waste||0.17||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits||296.46||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits, nes||1.3||1000 ha||2019|
|cork - t||67 500||t||2003|
|timber||18 891 547||m³||2019|
|cattle||6 600.33||1000 heads||2019|
|cattle and buffaloes||6 601.3||1000 heads||2019|
|pigs||31 246.04||1000 heads||2019|
|sheep||15 478.62||1000 heads||2019|
|goats||2 659.11||1000 heads||2019|
|asses and mules||250.122||1000 heads||2018|
|birds||137 184||1000 heads||2018|
|crustaceans and molluscs||278 299.023||t||2019|
Spain has considerable and varied underground resources. The sector is dominated by industrial mineral and metal extraction. Pyrite deposits are immensely important, extending for 240 km, from Seville to south of Lisbon, as are lead minerals (Sierra Morena), zinc (Santander, Basque Country) and copper. Coal, oil and natural gas are also extracted.
Despite large investments in renewable energy and the tax reduction of solar power decided in 2018, the country remains dependent on fossil fuels and diversified imports of oil and gas, which constitute the primary energy resources. Algeria is a major supplier of natural gas, which arrives via the Maghreb-Europe and Medgaz pipelines. Spain is the leading European importer through the LNG regasification terminals in Barcelona, Cartagena, Huelva, Bilbao, Sagunto, El Ferrol. About one fifth of Spanish electrical energy comes from seven nuclear power plants at Almaraz, Ascó, Vandellós, Cofrentes and Trillo. Pro-renewable energy policies have favoured the development of businesses active in the production of solar and wind energy. Spain boasts one of the most innovative and competitive energy sectors. The top-ranking industry in the world for the production of renewable energy (Iberdrola) is Spanish and headquartered in Bilbao.
Spanish industry has been largely modernized and is highly diversified. In addition to the traditional sectors of textiles, iron and steel and leather, new sectors such as electronics, information technology, engineering and food are also important.
The iron and steel industry is concentrated in five main areas: Vizcaya, Asturias, in eastern Spain, Catalonia which specializes in the production of special steels, and in Santander. The main products of the metalworking industry are aluminium, copper, lead, zinc and tin.
The main oil refineries are at Corunna, Bilbao, Castellón de la Plana, Cartagena, Huelva, Málaga, Puertollano and Tarragona.
The chemical industry is based in Catalonia. Rubber industry plants are differentiated (tyres are produced in Barcelona). Mechanical engineering plants are located in the major cities (Barcelona, Oviedo, Toledo and Seville).
The automobile industry is one of the most important sectors, contributing to almost 10% of the GDP. Some of the biggest international companies operate in the country, including SPA and SEAT, as well as Daimler AG, Ford, Renault and Nissan. Shipbuilding and the aviation industry (Airbus) are also active.
As regards the textile industry, the most important segment is cotton, which is widespread especially in Catalonia. In the food sector, sugar processing and the beer industry play an important role. The paper industry, ceramics and the glass industry are also widespread.
|coal||1 940.1||1000 t||2019|
|coal, total||1 940.1||1000 t||2019|
|basalt||1 480||1000 t||2016|
|- thermal||104 662.42||M kWh||2019|
|- other renew.||76 027.88||M kWh||2019|
|- thermal||44 801||1000 kW||2018|
|- other renew.||37 831||1000 kW||2019|
|total net generation||259 912.62||M kWh||2019|
|total installed capacity||103 688||1000 kW||2018|
|alumina||1 595||1000 t||2019|
|cars||1 800 664||no.||2020|
|air conditioners||2 666 000||no.||2016|
|bitumen||2 630||1000 t||2018|
|petrol||8 639.9||1000 t||2014|
|caustic soda||276.5||1000 t||2019|
|carpets||34 845||1000 m²||2019|
|cotton fabrics||151.5||M m²||2019|
|footwear||96 194 338||pairs||2019|
|beer of barley||3 837||1000 t||2018|
|cottonseed oil||12.4||1000 t||2018|
|cigarettes||4 528.4||M units||2019|
|cigars||1 694.2||M units||2019|
|chemical pulp||1 216.527||1000 t||2019|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||1 640.017||1000 t||2019|
|cement||14 500||1000 t||2017|
|chemicals production||19 420.977||M US$||2018|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||29 998.954||M US$||2018|
The trend of the balance of trade is traditionally negative. The main partners are the EU countries, the USA and China.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017)
cars 35 776, machinery 23 925, vehicles and parts thereof 19 730, electrical and electronic equipment 16 677, iron and steel 14 428, apparel and accessories 13 751, petroleum products 13 734, fruit and vegetables 12 569, plastics 12 134, pharmaceuticals 11 348, chemicals 10 353, aircraft and parts thereof 6 496, meat 6 432, cosmetics and perfumes 4 561, olive oil 4 136, aluminium 4 043, paper 3 834, tyres and rubber articles 3 829, furniture and accessories 3 638, ceramic products 3 602, citrus fruits 3 588, fish 3 458
Finance and banking.
The system consists of major banking groups (BBVA and Santander) and a network of smaller savings banks. In the past, the banking sector obtained huge public aid: the EU bailout plan ended in 2014. A stock exchange is active in Madrid.
|manufactures||66.65||% of goods exports||2019|
|food products||16.424||% of goods exports||2019|
|France||48 194||M US$||2020|
|Germany||33 805||M US$||2020|
|Germany||39 010||M US$||2020|
|China||33 510||M US$||2020|
Tourism. The country is among the top tourist destinations in the world, with about 83.7 million international visitors in 2019 and a production value equal to about 11% of the GDP. Its greatest attractions are the seaside resorts on the Mediterranean coast, the islands and its historic cities.
|Expenditures||28 275||M US$||2019|
|Number of arrivals||83 509 000||units||2019|
The railways network has been completely overhauled: the Spanish part of the European high-speed rail network is one of the most extensive in the world.
Air traffic is largely based on the airports of Madrid and Barcelona.
Media and telecommunication.
The Spanish telecom company Telefónica is very active on the international market and controls other providers in Germany, Ireland, the UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia and in South America.
|Civil aviation, km flown||520 300 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||88 237.2||1000 units||2019|
|Broadband subscribers||334.139||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Computers||393.1||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education, culture & research.
Primary and secondary education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 11, and the ages of 12 and 15 respectively. Students can continue their studies at schools leading to technical specialization or other schools which prepare students for university.
Social security and health.
The national security system covers disability, illness, accidents at work and maternity. It also provides child allowance for disadvantaged families, retirement pensions and unemployment benefits.
The entire segment is subject to severe cuts, which are destroying its effectiveness. A large number of private operators work in the sphere of healthcare services. The legislation is particularly advanced: living wills were authorized in 2002 and euthanasia was legalized in 2021.
|Expected years of schooling||17.757||years||2018|
|Students, primary level||3 043 396||units||2018|
|Students, secondary level||3 371 069||units||2018|
|Social protection spending||41.984||% of total expenses||2019|
|Social protection spending||24.669||% of GDP||2019|
|Hospital beds||2.97||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|Physicians||4.02||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|HIV||0.4||% of adults||2019|
|Museums, visitors||65 400 000||units||2018|
|Research and development spending||1.25||% of GDP||2019|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2019|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2019|