spain

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a sovereign state and a member of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small...

read more

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a sovereign state and a member of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, to which Spain lays claim; to the north and north east by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the northwest and west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal.

Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, and two autonomous cities in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, that border Morocco plus Alborán island, the Chafarinas islands, Alhucemas island and Perejil. Furthermore, the town of Llívia is a Spanish exclave situated inside French territory. With an area of 505,992 square kilometres, it's the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe.

Because of its location, the territory of Spain was subject to many external influences since prehistoric times and through to its dawn as a country. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs and the completion of the reconquest, or Reconquista, of the Iberian peninsula in 1492. Conversely, it has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the modern era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 500 million Spanish speakers today, making it the world's second most spoken first language.

some cities

experiences (2)

have you spent time in spain? share your experiences

4

madrid, spain - teambobert's (m/32/united states) reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by teambobert on 10/02/13.

I moved to Madrid in Feb 2011 because I had enough living where I lived before and got my work to transfer me to the Madrid office (after half a year of negotiation). I had visited Madrid many times before I moved and I felt more at home there after a few days than 5 years in my previous location.

I live in Chueca, which is a so-so neighborhood. It is central, which is amazing, but it is a bit on the dirty side and it is difficult to find a decent grocery store without having to hop on the metro. I love living in the city center though, so it is worth it in my opinion.

Madrileños are some of the most amazing, open, friendly people I have ever met. Speak 5 words of Spanish at a dinner table with 7 unknown Spaniards and your experience will be much more fun and memorable than sitting at a dinner table of 7 other southern European nationalities and not being able to speak their language. This is my experience though, and as Spaniards say, "Hay de todo".

Work wise I work for an international NGO based in Madrid. I switched jobs while I was here, it was not easy and I had to wait a long time for work permits to be cleared and such, but I really love it here and I don't ever want...

read more
3

spain - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/17/13.

What brought you to Spain? Where were you before?

I am from Southern California so I grew up learning a lot of Spanish. I decided to study in Barcelona because I had heard great things about the city and wanted to work on my Spanish. I returned to Spain after I graduated because I was backpacking across Europe after I graduated college and decided to try and stay and work for a while, which is when I found a job teaching English in Madrid.

How do the two cities compare?

Barcelona is much more metropolitan in that it has influences from many different cultures. Also, Barcelona is part of Catalonia which has its own cultural identity due to the Spanish civil war. Barcelona has crazy nightlife and is right on the Mediterranean, so there is always something to do. There is also tons of history and art and architecture, but that is also true for Madrid. Whereas in Barcelona you can find all types of food, in Madrid most of the food is Spanish. Madrid is much more centralized than Barcelona, in that it has a central downtown where most people work surrounded by a lot of areas of mostly housing. Since there is no water near Madrid, it gets very hot in the Summer and for a few...

read more

 videos (22)

view all 22 videos

demographics

population

47,042,984 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types

languages

Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, and Basque 2%

religions

Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 15.3% (male 3,698,174/ female 3,483,844)

15-64: 15-64 years: 67.5% (male 16,075,243/ female 15,668,611)

65+: 65 years and over: 17.3% (male 3,444,027/ female 4,673,085) (2012 est.)

urbanization

77% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

81.27 years

obesity rate

15.6% (2007)

literacy rate

97.7%

average years of education

16 years

economics

cost of living

5/10 (medium-low)

economic overview

spain's mixed capitalist economy is the 13th largest in the world, and its per capita income roughly matches that of Germany and France. However, after almost 15 years of...

read more

spain's mixed capitalist economy is the 13th largest in the world, and its per capita income roughly matches that of Germany and France. However, after almost 15 years of above average GDP growth, the Spanish economy began to slow in late 2007 and entered into a recession in the second quarter of 2008. GDP contracted by 3.7% in 2009, ending a 16-year growth trend, and by another 0.1% in 2010, before turning positive in 2011, making Spain the last major economy to emerge from the global recession. The reversal in Spain's economic growth reflected a significant decline in construction amid an oversupply of housing and falling consumer spending, while exports actually have begun to grow. Government efforts to boost the economy through stimulus spending, extended unemployment benefits, and loan guarantees did not prevent a sharp rise in the unemployment rate, which rose from a low of about 8% in 2007 to over 20% in 2011. The government budget deficit worsened from 3.8% of GDP in 2008 to 9.2% of GDP in 2010, more than three times the euro-zone limit. Madrid cut the deficit to 8.5% of GDP in 2011, a larger deficit than the 6% target negotiated between Spain and the EU. Spain's large budget deficit and poor economic growth prospects have made it vulnerable to financial contagion from other highly-indebted euro zone members despite the government's efforts to cut spending, privatize industries, and boost competitiveness through labor market reforms. Spanish banks' high exposure to the collapsed domestic construction and real estate market also poses a continued risk for the sector. The government oversaw a restructuring of the savings bank sector in 2010, and provided some $15 billion in capital to various institutions. Investors remain concerned that Madrid may need to bail out more troubled banks. The Bank of Spain, however, is seeking to boost confidence in the financial sector by pressuring banks to come clean about their losses and consolidate into stronger groups.

major industries

textiles and apparel (including footwear), food and beverages, metals and metal manufactures, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, tourism, clay and...

read more

textiles and apparel (including footwear), food and beverages, metals and metal manufactures, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, tourism, clay and refractory products, footwear, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment

gdp per capita

$30,500 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

0.4% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 3.2% industry: 25.2% services: 71.6% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

21.7% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

19.8% (2005)

gini index

32 (2005) country comparison to the world: 105 32.5 (1990)