Demographics of Spain
As of January 1, 2014, Spain had a total population of 46,507,760, which represents a 0.5% decrease since 2013.The CIA Factbook (2011) gives a racial description of "composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types" under "ethnic groups" instead of the usual breakdown of ethnic composition. This reflects the formation of the modern Kingdom of Spain by the accretion of several independent Iberian realms, i.e., León, Castile, Navarre, the Crown of Aragon, Granada, etc. Spain's population peaked in 2012, at 46,818,216 people. Spain's official population fell by 206,000 to 47.1 million, mostly because of immigrants returning home due to the effects of the European economic and fiscal crisis. Its population density, at 91.4 inhabitants per square kilometre (237/sq mi), is lower than that of most Western European countries. With the exception of the capital Madrid, the most densely populated areas lie around the coast.
The population of Spain doubled during the twentieth century, but the pattern of growth was extremely uneven due to large-scale internal migration from the rural interior to the industrial cities, a phenomenon which happened later than in other Western European countries. No fewer than eleven of Spain's fifty provinces saw an absolute decline in population over the century.
The last quarter of the century saw a dramatic fall in birth rates. Spain's fertility rate of 1.47 (the number of children the average woman will have during her lifetime) is lower than the EU average, but has climbed every year since the late 1990s. The birth rate has climbed in 10 years from 9.10 births per 1000 people per year in 1996 to 10.9 in 2006.
Spain has no official religion. The Spanish Constitution of 1978 abolished the Roman Catholic Church as the official state religion, while recognizing the role it plays in Spanish society. 76.7% of the population define themselves as Catholic, 20.0% as non-believers or atheists, and 1.6% other religions. Among believers, 55.3% assert they almost never go to any religious service, by contrast, 17.0% attend one or more masses almost every week.
Immigration and Demographic Issues
The population of Spain doubled during the twentieth century as a result of the spectacular demographic boom in the 1960s and early 1970s. After that time, the birth rate plunged through the 1980s and Spain's population became stalled, its demographics showing one of the lowest sub replacement fertility rates in the world, only above Greece, Portugal, Hungary, Ukraine, and Japan.
Many demographers have linked Spain's very low fertility rate to the country's lack of any real family planning policy. Spain spends the least on family support out all western European countries—0.5% of GDP. A graphic illustration of the enormous social gulf in this field is the fact that a Spanish family would need to have 57 children to enjoy the same financial support as a family with 3 children in Luxembourg.
In emigration/immigration terms, after centuries of net emigration, Spain, has recently experienced large-scale immigration for the first time in modern history. According to the Spanish government there were 5,730,667 foreign residents in Spain as of January 2011. Of these, more than 860,000 were Romanian, and half 760,000 were Moroccan while the number of Ecuadorians was around 390,000. Colombian population amounted to around 300,000. There are also a significant number of British (359,076 as of 2011, but more than one million are estimated to live permanently in Spain) and German (195,842) citizens, mainly in Alicante, Málaga provinces, Balearic Islands and Canary Islands. Chinese number over 166,000. Immigrants from several sub-Saharan African countries have also settled in Spain as contract workers, although they represent only 4.08% of all the foreign residents in the country.
During the early 2000s, the mean year-on-year demographic growth set a new record with its 2003 peak variation of 2.1%, doubling the previous record reached back in the 1960s when a mean year-on-year growth of 1% was experienced. This trend is far from being reversed at the present moment and, in 2005 alone, the immigrant population of Spain increased by 700,000 people.
The growing population of immigrants is the main reason for the slight increase in Spain's fertility rate. From 2002 through 2008 the Spanish population grew by 8%, of which 7% were foreign.
Notable events in modern Spanish demography:
- 1898. Loss of the war against the United States. Economic depression and mass emigration to American countries ensued.
- 1918. Flu pandemic, over 200,000 dead in Spain.
- 1936. Start of the Spanish Civil War.
- 1939. End of the Civil War. Establishment of a national-catholic dictatorship, contraception and abortion were banned. Start of rationing policies. Deepening of economic depression, mass emigration to European and American countries due to economic and political motives (Republican exile).
- 1941. Approval of benefits for large families, with at least four children.
- 1945. Establishment of tax deductions for parents.
- 1952. End of rationing policies.
- 1975. End of the dictatorship, mass return of emigrated people.
- 1977. Legalization of contraception. Decline of birth rates.
- 1985. Legalization of abortion.
- 1988. As Spain became a developed country, the first events of illegal immigration from Africa occur.
- 1991. Spain becomes a net receiver of immigrants, after decades of mass emigration.
- 1994. Lowering of threshold of requirements to become a large family, only three children needed.
- 2007. Approval of €2,500 benefit for births.
- 2010. Legalization of abortion on demand.
- 2011. Withdrawal of the €2,500 benefit for births.
- 2015. First negative natural change since the Civil War due to the aging of Spanish population.
The largest metropolitan areas in 2007 were:
- Madrid 6,489,162
- Barcelona 5,375,774
- Valencia 1,705,742
- Seville 1,519,639
- Bilbao 950,155
- Málaga 897,563
- Asturias (Gijón–Oviedo–Avilés) 857,079
- Alicante–Elche 748,565
- Zaragoza 731,803
- Vigo 662,412
- Las Palmas 616,903
- Bahía de Cádiz (Cádiz–Jerez de la Frontera) 615,494
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife 573,825
- Murcia 563,272
- Palma 474,035
- Granada 472,638
- San Sebastián 402,168
- Tarragona 406,042
- A Coruña 403,007
- Valladolid 400,400
- Santander–Torrelavega 391,480
- Córdoba 323,600
- Pamplona 309,631
CIA World Factbook demographic statistics
The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.
46,529,002 (July 2010 est.)
Age structure (2008 est.)
0-14 years: 14.4% (male 3,423,861/female 3,232,028)
15-64 years: 69.1% (male 16,185,575/female 15,683,433)
65 years and over: 16.5% (male 3,238,301/female 4,394,624) (2008 est.)
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate
4.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
Spain is, according to the OECD "Health at a glance report 2013", second in Europe and fourth worldwide in terms of life expectancy at birth.
total population: 82.4 years (Source: OECD 2013 "Health at a glance" report)
male: 78.8 years (Source: OECD 2013 "Health at a glance" report)
female: 85.2 years (Source: OECD 2013 "Health at a glance" report)
Total fertility rate
1.47 children born/woman (2010 est.)
Definition of ethnicity or nationality in Spain is fraught politically. The term "Spanish people" (pueblo español) is defined in the 1978 constitution as the political sovereign, i.e. the citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. The same constitution in its preamble speaks of "peoples and nationalities of Spain" (pueblos y nacionalidades de España) and their respective cultures, traditions, languages and institutions. The formerly nomadic Gitanos and Mercheros are distinctly marked by endogamy and discrimination but they are dispersed through the country.
The native Canarians are the descendants of the population of the Canary Islands prior to Spanish colonization in the 15th century. Also included are many Spaniard citizens who are descendents of people from Spain's former colonies, mostly from Equatorial Guinea, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Morocco and the Philippines. There is also a sizable number of Spaniards of Eastern European, Maghrebian, Sub Saharan-African, South Asian and Middle Eastern descent.
Native-born Spanish citizens of all ethnic groups make up 86% of the total population, and 14% are immigrants. Among the immigrants, around 57% of them come from Spain's former colonies in Latin America (including those from Cuba, Argentina, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Chile and Uruguay), Africa and Philippines (Southeast Asia). The rest are mostly Eastern European (especially Romanians, Bulgarians, Russians, Serbians, Croatians, Bosnians, Ukrainians and Albanians), North and West Africans (notably Moroccans, Algerians, Senegalese, Guineans, Nigerians and Cameroonians), Middle Eastern peoples including the Lebanese and Syrian communities, South Asians including Indians and Pakistanis, and Chinese, as well as a sizable number of citizens from the European Union, as of 2007 mostly Romanians, Bulgarians, British, Portuguese, Polish (central Europe), and Germans.
List of largest minority groups in Spain by country as of 2011
Roman Catholicism is the largest religion in the country by far. According to a July 2009 study by the Spanish Center of Sociological Research about 70% of Spaniards self-identify as Catholics, 10% other faith, and about 20% identify with no religion. Most Spaniards do not participate regularly in religious services. This same study shows that of the Spaniards who identify themselves as religious, 58% hardly ever or never go to church, 17% go to church some times a year, 9% some time per month and 15% every Sunday or multiple times per week. But according to a December 2006 study, 48% of the population declared a belief in a supreme being, while 41% described themselves as atheist or agnostic.
- Spanish 99% (88% mother tongue) (official nationwide)
- Catalan 16% (9% mother tongue) (co-official in Catalonia, Balearic Islands, and Valencia — see Valencian)
- Galician 7% (5% mother tongue) (co-official in Galicia)
- Basque 1.6% (1% mother tongue) (co-official in Basque Country and designated areas in Navarre).
- Aranese (a variant of Gascon Occitan) is co-official in Val d'Aran, a small valley in the Pyrenees.
Others with no official status:
- Asturian-Leonese (in the former Kingdom of León and Asturias)
- Aragonese (in the province of Huesca, Aragon)
- Arabic (in the autonomous city of Ceuta)
- Berber (in the autonomous city of Melilla)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write. Total population: 97.7% Male: 98.5% Female: 97% (2010 est.)
About 70% of Spain's student population attends public schools or universities. The remainder attend private schools or universities, many of which are operated by the Catholic Church.
Compulsory education begins with primary school or general basic education for ages 6–16. It is free in public schools and in many private schools, most of which receive government subsidies. Following graduation, students attend either a secondary school offering a general high school diploma or a school of professional study in all fields — law, sciences, humanities, and medicine — and the superior technical schools offer programs in engineering and architecture.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Demographics of Spain.|
- Health in Spain
- List of Spaniards
- Nationalities in Spain
- Romani people in Spain
- Ranked list of Spanish autonomous communities
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- CIS study, April 2008. Questions 33 and 34.
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- The first 'patera' arrived to Canary Islands 20 years ago - Público newspaper (Spanish)
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- La superficie de las islas vendrá dada en hectáreas salvo la de las mayores islas de los archipiélagos canario y balear, así como las Plazas de Soberanía.
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- Build Spanish population graph 1960 - 2013 (World Bank data)
- Build Spanish population projection graph till 2100 (United Nation data)
- Build Spanish life expectancy at birth graph 1950 - 2013 (United Nation data)