Spain Population, Politics and Economy
Population in Spain
With almost 47 million residents (2018), the Spanish population has experienced enormous growth in the last few decades, in particular due to significant immigration. According to directoryaah, the growth rate is around 0.3%. Today the Spanish population has a proportion of foreigners of approx. 12%, which consists mainly of immigrants from Romania, the states of the Maghreb or Latin America. Brits and Germans, for whom Spain has become a popular retirement home, are also represented among the immigrants. The minority population of Spain includes the Spanish Roma, known as Gitanos, who immigrated to Spain around the 16th century and of whom around 600,000 to 800,000 people live in Spain today.
Although over 90% of Spaniards officially belong to the Roman Catholic Church, around 20% of the population describe themselves as non-religious or atheist. This is due, among other things, to the fact that Spanish law does not provide for the act of leaving the church and therefore many unbelievers are officially listed in the church registers.
Despite the fact that the Spanish language, which developed from Castilian, is the official language in the entire national territory of Spain, Catalan, Galician and Basque are still spoken regionally, also in terms of traffic. In Catalonia, most schools and universities even teach in Catalan. Both English and French are established foreign languages in Spain, so it is usually possible to communicate adequately in one of these two foreign languages on a trip through Spain.
Politics and economics in Spain
Spain has a hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary-democratic system of government in the form of a parliamentary monarchy. According to the constitution, Spain is a social and democratic state based on the rule of law, based on the principles of freedom, justice, equality and political pluralism. State authority comes from the Spanish people, who are the bearers of national sovereignty. The head of state and also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces is the king. Otherwise, the king has predominantly representative functions, similar to the political role of the German Federal President. He confirms laws and is responsible for appointing and dismissing the Prime Minister elected by the House of Representatives. The Prime Minister assumes the role of Head of Government. The legislative function lies with the parliament, which consists of two chambers. The House of Representatives has a maximum of 400 seats, which are filled in general, free, equal, direct and secret elections. The Senate, with around 250 members, most of whom are elected by the people, is responsible not only for legislating but also for approving the state budget and controlling the government.
According to ebizdir, with the economic reform of 1959, the democratic change after the end of the dictatorship, accession to the European Community and participation in the European Economic and Monetary Union, the foundations for a long-lasting economic upswing were laid in Spain. The successive modernization and liberalization of the country’s industry have resulted in a number of internationally known and successfully operating companies such as Iberia, Seat, Telefónica, Zara and Endesa. The opening of Spain to international competition resulted in significant foreign direct investment. Traditionally working branches of the manufacturing industry such as B. in the Basque Country had to accept considerable losses as a result.
The growth of recent years has also been largely driven by a loan-supported real estate boom, the bubble of which burst in the course of the financial crisis from 2007 and after the collapse of several financial institutions forced Spain to use the euro bailout fund for 18 months, while Spain had a total of 41, Received 4 billion euros to support the troubled credit institutions.
After a recession initiated by the financial crisis in 2009, growth in gross domestic product has been on the upswing again since 2014, initially at 1.4% and in 2015 at 3.2%. In addition to tourism and all related trades, the most important economic sectors in Spain are the construction, communication and information technology, metalworking industry, mechanical engineering, agriculture and petrochemicals. The unemployment rate, which rose to over 26% during the recession in 2012, recovered to around 15% in 2018. A continuing problem is the high youth unemployment rate of almost 40% (2017).
Transport network in Spain
Spain has a well-developed network of roads and motorways, 663,795 kilometers in length, with mostly paved roads. In addition to the national roads, there are both toll-free and toll-free motorways among the trunk roads, whereby the motorway sections in the metropolitan areas are usually free to use, while longer cross-country routes are chargeable. When traveling through Spain with an off-road vehicle or motorcycle, it is important to know that the behavior of road users in Spain differs from the current traffic regulations, whereby the flow of traffic is often placed above the actual right of way. For example, it is advisable to When turning right, not to insist on the right of way towards an oncoming left feeder and generally to admit road users with less flexible vehicles such as trucks. Cars and motorbikes may not be parked on sidewalks and sidewalks; even partial use of such a parking area results in immediate towing. In Spain, on the other hand, it is completely normal as a motorcyclist to weave through slowly moving or stationary rows of cars.
Of the total of over 15,000 km of rails in the Spanish railway network, around 2300 km belong to the Spanish high-speed network, on which high-speed trains such as the French TGV, the Spanish AVE or the Velaro developed by Siemens are operated between all major cities. Therefore, on a journey through Spain, you can move very comfortably over long distances by train. Local rail transport is also very well developed within the metropolitan areas. Only remote places far away from the big cities and tourist centers are not so easy to reach by rail. However, there is an excellent long-distance bus network available for those traveling to Spain, in many places with their own bus stations.
Many of the 40 or so Spanish commercial airports have international flight connections, which means that participants on a trip through Spain can get close to the respective starting and departure points from their home country. These include the capital Madrid airport, Barcelona airport, Palma de Mallorca airport, Malaga airport, Alicante airport, Valencia airport, Girona airport, Bilbao airport, Almería airport, Zaragoza airport, San Sebastian airport and La Palma airport in the Canary Islands.
As a traditional maritime nation, Spain naturally has a number of large ports on the coasts, some of which are of supraregional importance. The main seaports are on the Mediterranean in Algeciras, Barcelona and Valencia and on the Atlantic in Bilbao and Gijón. On the Canary Islands, the port of Santa Cruz on Tenerife is particularly important for cruise trips, as it can be called by all types and sizes of ship and is also an important supply port for transatlantic passenger and pleasure boat traffic. Due to the construction of numerous reservoirs on Spain’s major rivers, the Guadalquivir is the only river in Spain that is navigable, even if only between the Atlantic and Seville.