Society, Government, and Economy

Project Overview

This summer, I plan on studying business in Oxford. I hope to leave a week early in order to do some traveling in Europe while I'm there. My friend, Courtney, and I plan on stopping in Spain along the way, and I'd love to have some knowledge of the country before I visit! Hopefully the rest of my cultural projects will be on different aspects of Spain. This first project will just be to give a brief overview of the country - its society, government, and economy. Each successive project will go more in depth on a specific topic.



There are over 47,737,941 people in the country of Spain. This places the country 29th in the world in terms of population. With a population this size, Spain is divided into 17 different regions, each of which elects leaders in a direct election. This allows each region a little bit of autonomy, and can make for differences in culture between the regions. On top of this, there are six main cultures that are prevalent in Spain: the Castilians, the Galicians, the Basques, the Catalans, the Levante, and the Andalucians. With these differences in culture comes a difference in language. Castilian Spanish is Spain's official language, with 74% of the population speaking it. Seventeen percent speak Catalan, 7% Galician, and 2% Basque.


Shared Characteristics

Despite several differences in culture, there are many characteristics that are shared by all of Spain. Religion is a major part of everyday life, and 94% of Spain's population is Roman Catholic. The family unit is also extremely important; however, the role of the family is beginning to change. Families are now changing from the more traditional large family to a family unit consisting of parents and two or so children. In addition to this, individual families are starting to grow more distanced from their extended families.


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Spain's Most Populous Cities

Spain's capital, Madrid, is the country's most populous city, with Barcelona following close behind. Four other highly populated cities include Valencia, Sevilla, Saragoza, and Malaga - all of which have a population of over 500,000 people.



The Telegraph

Spain National Anthem by The Telegraph

The above link is for Spain's National Anthem

Spain's national anthem was officially in use from 1770 to 1931. In 1939, it was restored. The national anthem has no lyrics, and can be used for the king, other officials, and for occasions such as sporting events.


Government Overview

The capital of Spain is in Madrid. In 1978, the constitution established Spain as a parliamentary monarchy. In Spain, the monarchy is hereditary and the Chief of State is currently King Felipe VI while the Head of Government is Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

There are numerous political parties present in Spain, however there are three more prominent parties. These parties include the Popular Party, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, and the United Left.

Because the country is split into 17 autonomous regions, issues such as education, health care, and other social problems, are often left up to the individual region's to handle.



Economy Overview

Spain has been suffering a recession after a recent financial crisis. Its GDP shrunk between the years of 2009-2013, which ended a 16 year trend of growth. Spain's GDP is currently $1.389 trillion, ranking it 15th in the world. The service industry makes up the largest portion of Spain's GDP at almost 71%.

In addition to a large GDP, Spain is ranked as 49th freest economy. It is categorized as "moderately free" and scores below average in the areas of fiscal freedom, governmental spending, and labor freedom.


Employment in Spain

The unemployment rate in Spain is currently 26.3% compared to the United States' unemployment rate of 7.3%. This extremely high rate places Spain at 175 out of 203 countries ranked by unemployment rates.


Women's Roles

Like the United States, the women of Spain are allowed to work outside the home, but are often still expected to take care of the house and children. Within this, more and more women are beginning to pursue professional careers as well as an equal say in household decisions. Although there progress is being made, women still receive only 75-80% of the salaries of men.