Spain Country Overview
Where is Spain located? Spain is located in southwestern Europe and the form of government is a parliamentary hereditary monarchy. The state is also located in the Iberian Peninsula. The time zone map places Spain in the Central European Time Zone, which is +1 hour offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). In the summer months, this difference increases to +2 hours, since the time changeover to summer time then takes place. You can find the current atomic time in Spain on our time zone map.
As of 2023, the latest population of Spain is 50,015,792, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).
|Population growth rate||0.67%|
|Birth rate||9.20 births per 1,000 people|
|Overall life expectancy||81.37 years|
|Men life expectancy||78.37 years|
|Women life expectancy||84.57 years|
|65 years and above||18.15%|
|Median age||42.00 years|
|Gender ratio (Male to Female)||0.97|
|Population density||98.97 residents per km²|
|Spaniards; Ceuta: 83,517; Melilla: 81,323 pop.; Proportion of foreigners 2015: 9.6%|
|Catholics (Roman Catholic) 94%, other 6%|
|Human Development Index (HDI)||0.893|
|HDI ranking||25th out of 194|
People in Spain
The residents of Spain are the Spaniards. Culturally and therefore also linguistically, they do not form a unit. As a result, problems have repeatedly arisen in the past. Catalans and Basques in particular feel more a part of their region than Spain. You can find more about this under History. Around 700,000 Roma, who are called Gitanos here, live as a minority in Spain.
A total of around 46 million people live in Spain. The population grew mainly between 1990 and 2010. That was not because the Spaniards had more children, but because many people from other countries moved here. Especially from Romania, the Maghreb countries, Latin America, Great Britain and Germany, people have moved to Spain in recent years.
The average age of the population is 43.9 years. In Germany it is 47.4 years. Life expectancy is 79 years for men and 85.2 years for women.
Children: Every woman in Spain has an average of 1.5 children. With us, every woman has an average of 1.4 children. So a little more children are born in Spain than here.
Urban and rural areas: A large part of Spain’s population, namely 80.8 percent, lives in cities. Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia are the biggest cities. 3.2 million people live in Madrid, 1.6 million in Barcelona and 790,000 in Valencia. This is followed by Seville, Saragossa and Málaga.
Languages in Spain
Spanish is spoken all over Spain. Spanish is the official language. Instead of “Spanish” one would have to say Castilian correctly. The Spaniards call their language castellano (pronounced: kasteljano). It becomes clear that “Spanish” is not the only language in the country, as one would otherwise easily think. In addition, Castilian is spoken not only in Spain but also in almost all countries in Central and South America. 74 percent of Spaniards speak Castilian as their first language.
There are historical reasons why Castilian became so widespread. The kings of Castile promoted this language as early as the 13th century. Castile became the most powerful kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula. You see: the name Castilian is derived from the region of Castile. With the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula (Reconquista), Castilian also spread.
And even in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, the ruling kings always promoted Castilian. It was ordered by law that school lessons could only be held in Castilian. Under the Franco dictatorship, it was forbidden to use languages other than Castilian in schools, in the media and on street signs.
Strong languages: Catalan, Basque and Galician
However, other languages were spoken regionally and thus survived. After the end of the Franco dictatorship, Catalan, Basque and Galician became the second official language in their respective regions and thus equated with Castilian.
Catalan is spoken in Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Today, 17 percent of the population speak Catalan as their first language. Galician is spoken in Galicia (7 percent of the population). Basque is spoken in the Basque Country and parts of Navarre (2 percent) and outside of Spain in the adjacent part of the French Pyrenees.
Basque does not belong to any language family, it is the only “isolated language” in Europe. All of these regions are bilingual, with most of the residents speaking Castilian and the regional language.
Basque has many k, z and x in its language. It does not belong to the Indo-European languages like most of the languages of Europe and therefore not to the Romance languages that are spoken all around (Castilian, French, Catalan, etc.). Do you want to learn to count in Basque? From 1 to 10 it goes like this: bat, bi, hiru, lau bost, sei, zazpi, zortzi, bederatzi, hamar. Z is pronounced like the s in “sum”. There is no x in the numbers, it would be pronounced like “sch” in Basque.
Minorities in some places in the Pyrenees also speak Aragonese. Aranese is still spoken in the extreme north-west corner of Catalonia, in the Val d’Aran. That is also in the Pyrenees.
The area that is green in the map above (next to the yellow area for Galician) is spoken in Asturleon. It is divided into Asturian and Leonese. In the cities in particular, Castilian is now often spoken as a first language.
Arabic elements in Spanish
Because Spain was almost entirely in Moorish hands from the 8th to the 11th centuries, Arabic elements have established themselves in the language. The word ojalá, for example, translates as “hopefully”, but originally “so Allah / God willing”. The words that begin with al- are also mostly of Arabic origin, for example alfombra (carpet).
Another peculiarity in Castilian is the use of the exclamation mark and the question mark. Both characters are in front of the sentence the other way around, for example: ¡Hola! That means hello and is pronounced “Olla”. ¿Cómo estás? means “how are you?”
A special letter is the ñ. It is pronounced “nj” and occurs, for example, in España, which is Spain’s name in Castilian. If two l come together, it is pronounced “lj”, for example in the word castellano.
Religions in Spain
69 percent of Spaniards belong to the Roman Catholic Church. The proportion of those who actively participate in church life has been falling for years. Religious minorities are Jews, Muslims, Protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses. In addition, there are also non-denominational people, i.e. people who do not belong to any religion.