Photos of Spain



Spain's powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World War I and II, but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy, and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. More recently, Spain has emerged from a severe economic recession that began in mid-2008, posting four straight years of GDP growth above the EU average. Unemployment has fallen, but remains high, especially among youth. Spain is the Eurozone's fourth largest economy. The country has faced increased domestic turmoil in recent years due to the independence movement in its restive Catalonia region.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Southwestern Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, and Pyrenees Mountains; southwest of France

Geographic coordinates

40 00 N, 4 00 W


total: 505,370 sq km

land: 498,980 sq km

water: 6,390 sq km

note: there are two autonomous cities - Ceuta and Melilla - and 17 autonomous communities including Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, and three small Spanish possessions off the coast of Morocco - Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera

country comparison to the world: 54

Area - comparative

almost five times the size of Kentucky; slightly more than twice the size of Oregon

Land boundaries

total: 1,952.7 km

border countries (5): Andorra 63 km, France 646 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1224 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 8 km and Morocco (Melilla) 10.5 km

note: an additional 75-meter border segment exists between Morocco and the Spanish exclave of Penon de Velez de la Gomera


4,964 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (applies only to the Atlantic Ocean)


temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast


large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees Mountains in north


mean elevation: 660 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m

Natural resources

coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 54.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 24.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 9.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 20.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 36.8% (2018 est.)

other: 9.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

38,000 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

with the notable exception of Madrid, Sevilla, and Zaragoza, the largest urban agglomerations are found along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts; numerous smaller cities are spread throughout the interior reflecting Spain's agrarian heritage; very dense settlement around the capital of Madrid, as well as the port city of Barcelona

Natural hazards

periodic droughts, occasional flooding

volcanism: volcanic activity in the Canary Islands, located off Africa's northwest coast; Teide (3,715 m) has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; La Palma (2,426 m), which last erupted in 1971, is the most active of the Canary Islands volcanoes; Lanzarote is the only other historically active volcano

Geography - note

strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar; Spain controls a number of territories in northern Morocco including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas; Spain's Canary Islands are one of four North Atlantic archipelagos that make up Macaronesia; the others are Azores (Portugal), Madeira (Portugal), and Cabo Verde

People and Society


noun: Spaniard(s)

adjective: Spanish

Ethnic groups

Spanish 86.4%, Moroccan 1.8%, Romanian 1.3%, other 10.5% (2018 est.)

note: data represent population by country of birth


Castilian Spanish (official nationwide) 74%, Catalan (official in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community (where it is known as Valencian)) 17%, Galician (official in Galicia) 7%, Basque (official in the Basque Country and in the Basque-speaking area of Navarre) 2%, Aranese (official in the northwest corner of Catalonia (Vall d'Aran) along with Catalan, <5,000 speakers)

note: Aragonese, Aranese Asturian, Basque, Calo, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian are recognized as regional languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages


Roman Catholic 68.9%, atheist 11.3%, agnostic 7.6%, other 2.8%, non-believer 8.2%, unspecified 1.1% (2019 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.02% (male 3,861,522/female 3,650,085)

15-24 years: 9.9% (male 2,557,504/female 2,392,498)

25-54 years: 43.61% (male 11,134,006/female 10,675,873)

55-64 years: 12.99% (male 3,177,080/female 3,319,823)

65 years and over: 18.49% (male 3,970,417/female 5,276,984) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 52.4

youth dependency ratio: 21.9

elderly dependency ratio: 30.4

potential support ratio: 3.3 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 43.9 years

male: 42.7 years

female: 45.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 19

Birth rate

8.05 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 219

Death rate

9.78 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

Net migration rate

1.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Population distribution

with the notable exception of Madrid, Sevilla, and Zaragoza, the largest urban agglomerations are found along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts; numerous smaller cities are spread throughout the interior reflecting Spain's agrarian heritage; very dense settlement around the capital of Madrid, as well as the port city of Barcelona


urban population: 80.8% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.33% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

note: data include Canary Islands, Ceuta, and Melilla

Major urban areas - population

6.669 million MADRID (capital), 5.624 million Barcelona, 835,000 Valencia (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.9 years (2017 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

4 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 174

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.14 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.51 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 211

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.21 years

male: 79.22 years

female: 85.39 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

Contraceptive prevalence rate

62.1% (2018)

note: percent of women aged 18-49

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

3.87 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<1000 (2019)

Major infectious diseases

respiratory diseases: Covid-19 (see note) (2020)

note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout Spain; as of 6 April 2021, Spain has reported a total of 3,311,325 cases of COVID-19 or 7,082.32 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 162.09 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; the Spanish Government is gradually relaxing confinement measures in phases over the next several weeks; these measures will vary from region to region within Spain; the Department of Homeland Security has issued instructions requiring US passengers who have been in Spain to travel through select airports where the US Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.4%

male: 98.9%

female: 98% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 18 years

male: 17 years

female: 18 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 34.3%

male: 35.2%

female: 33.3% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24


Country name

conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain

conventional short form: Spain

local long form: Reino de Espana

local short form: Espana

etymology: derivation of the name "Espana" is uncertain, but may come from the Phoenician term "span," related to the word "spy," meaning "to forge metals," so, "i-spn-ya" would mean "place where metals are forged"; the ancient Phoenicians long exploited the Iberian Peninsula for its mineral wealth

Government type

parliamentary constitutional monarchy


name: Madrid

geographic coordinates: 40 24 N, 3 41 W

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

note: Spain has two time zones, including the Canary Islands (UTC 0)

etymology: the Romans named the original settlement "Matrice" after the river that ran through it; under Arab rule it became "Majerit," meaning "source of water"; in medieval Romance dialects (Mozarabic) it became "Matrit," which over time changed to "Madrid"

Administrative divisions

17 autonomous communities (comunidades autonomas, singular - comunidad autonoma) and 2 autonomous cities* (ciudades autonomas, singular - ciudad autonoma); Andalucia; Aragon; Asturias; Canarias (Canary Islands); Cantabria; Castilla-La Mancha; Castilla-Leon; Cataluna (Castilian), Catalunya (Catalan), Catalonha (Aranese) [Catalonia]; Ceuta*; Comunidad Valenciana (Castilian), Comunitat Valenciana (Valencian) [Valencian Community]; Extremadura; Galicia; Illes Baleares (Balearic Islands); La Rioja; Madrid; Melilla*; Murcia; Navarra (Castilian), Nafarroa (Basque) [Navarre]; Pais Vasco (Castilian), Euskadi (Basque) [Basque Country]

note: the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla plus three small islands of Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera, administered directly by the Spanish central government, are all along the coast of Morocco and are collectively referred to as Places of Sovereignty (Plazas de Soberania)


1492; the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim occupation that began in the early 8th century A.D. and lasted nearly seven centuries; the small Christian redoubts of the north began the reconquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492; this event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain

National holiday

National Day (Hispanic Day), 12 October (1492); note - commemorates the arrival of COLUMBUS in the Americas


history: previous 1812; latest approved by the General Courts 31 October 1978, passed by referendum 6 December 1978, signed by the king 27 December 1978, effective 29 December 1978

amendments: proposed by the government, by the General Courts (the Congress or the Senate), or by the self-governing communities submitted through the government; passage requires three-fifths majority vote by both houses and passage by referendum if requested by one tenth of the members of either house; proposals disapproved by both houses are submitted to a joint committee, which submits an agreed upon text for another vote; passage requires two-thirds majority vote in Congress and simple majority vote in the Senate; amended 1992, 2011

Legal system

civil law system with regional variations

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Spain

dual citizenship recognized: only with select Latin American countries

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years for persons with no ties to Spain


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King FELIPE VI (since 19 June 2014); Heir Apparent Princess LEONOR, Princess of Asturias (daughter of the monarch, born 31 October 2005)

head of government: President of the Government (Prime Minister-equivalent) Pedro SANCHEZ Perez-Castejon (since 2 June 2018); Vice President (and Minister of the President's Office) Maria del Carmen CALVO Poyato (since 7 June 2018)

cabinet: Council of Ministers designated by the president 

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the monarch usually proposes as president the leader of the party or coalition with the largest majority of seats, who is then indirectly elected by the Congress of Deputies; election last held on 10 November 2019 (next to be held November 2023); vice president and Council of Ministers appointed by the president

election results: percent of National Assembly vote - NA

note: there is also a Council of State that is the supreme consultative organ of the government, but its recommendations are non-binding

Legislative branch

description: bicameral General Courts or Las Cortes Generales consists of:
Senate or Senado (266 seats; 208 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 58 members indirectly elected by the legislatures of the autonomous communities; members serve 4-year terms)
Congress of Deputies or Congreso de los Diputados (350 seats; 348 members directly elected in 50 multi-seat constituencies by closed-list proportional representation vote, with a 3% threshold needed to gain a seat, and 2 directly elected from the North African Ceuta and Melilla enclaves by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms or until the government is dissolved)

Senate - last held on 10 November 2019 (next to be held no later than November 2023)
Congress of Deputies - last held on 10 November 2019 (next to be held no later than November 2023)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PSOE 113, PP 97, ERC 15, EAJ/PNV 10, C's 9, other 22; composition - men 163, women 103; percent of women 39%
Congress of Deputies - percent of vote by party - PSOE 28.7%, PP 20.8%,Vox 15.1%, Unidos Podemos 12.8%, C's 6.8%, ERC 3.6%, other 12.8%; seats by party - PSOE 120, PP 88, Vox 52,  Unidos Podemos 35, C's 10, ERC 13, other 23; composition - men 184, women 166; percent of women 47.4%; note - total  General Courts percent of women 43.7%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo (consists of the court president and organized into the Civil Room, with a president and 9 judges; the Penal Room, with a president and 14 judges; the Administrative Room, with a president and 32 judges; the Social Room, with a president and 12 judges; and the Military Room, with a president and 7 judges); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional de Espana (consists of 12 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates proposed by the General Council of the Judiciary Power, a 20-member governing board chaired by the monarch that includes presidential appointees, lawyers, and jurists confirmed by the National Assembly; judges can serve until age 70; Constitutional Court judges nominated by the National Assembly, executive branch, and the General Council of the Judiciary, and appointed by the monarch for 9-year terms

subordinate courts: National High Court; High Courts of Justice (in each of the autonomous communities); provincial courts; courts of first instance

Political parties and leaders

Asturias Forum or FAC [Carmen MORIYON]
Basque Country Unite (Euskal Herria Bildu) or EH Bildu (coalition of 4 Basque pro-independence parties)
Basque Nationalist Party or PNV or EAJ [Andoni ORTUZAR]
Canarian Coalition or CC [Ana ORAMAS] (coalition of 5 parties)
Junts per Catalunia or JxCat  [Carles PUIDGEMONT]
Ciudadanos Party or C's [Albert RIVERA]
Compromis - Communist Coalition [Joan BALDOVI]
New Canary or NCa [Pedro QUEVEDOS]
Unidas Podemos [Pablo IGLESIAS Turrion] (formerly Podemos IU; electoral coalition formed for May 2016 election)
People's Party or PP [Pablo CASADO]
Republican Left of Catalonia or ERC [Oriol JUNQUERAS i Vies]
Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE [Pedro SANCHEZ]
JxCat-Junts Together for Catalonia [Jordi SANCHEZ]
Union of People of Navarra or UPN [Javier ESPARZA]
Navarra Suma (electoral Coaltion formed by Navarrese People's Union (UPN), Ciudadanos (C's), and the Popular Partty (PP) ahead of the 2019 election)
Vox or Vox [Santiago ABASCAL]

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BCIE, BIS, CAN (observer), CBSS (observer), CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Santiago CABANAS Ansorena (since 17 September 2018)

chancery: 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037

telephone: [1] (202) 452-0100, 728-2340

FAX: [1] (202) 833-5670

consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)

consulate(s): Kansas City (MO)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Richard Duke BUCHAN III (since 18 January 2018) note - also accredited to Andorra

telephone: [34] (91) 587-2200

embassy: Calle de Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid

mailing address: PSC 61, APO AE 09642

FAX: [34] (91) 587-2303

consulate(s) general: Barcelona

Flag description

three horizontal bands of red (top), yellow (double width), and red with the national coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band; the coat of arms is quartered to display the emblems of the traditional kingdoms of Spain (clockwise from upper left, Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon) while Granada is represented by the stylized pomegranate at the bottom of the shield; the arms are framed by two columns representing the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar; the red scroll across the two columns bears the imperial motto of "Plus Ultra" (further beyond) referring to Spanish lands beyond Europe; the triband arrangement with the center stripe twice the width of the outer dates to the 18th century

note: the red and yellow colors are related to those of the oldest Spanish kingdoms: Aragon, Castile, Leon, and Navarre

National symbol(s)

Pillars of Hercules; national colors: red, yellow

National anthem

name: "Himno Nacional Espanol" (National Anthem of Spain)

lyrics/music: no lyrics/unknown

note: officially in use between 1770 and 1931, restored in 1939; the Spanish anthem is the first anthem to be officially adopted, but it has no lyrics; in the years prior to 1931 it became known as "Marcha Real" (The Royal March); it first appeared in a 1761 military bugle call book and was replaced by "Himno de Riego" in the years between 1931 and 1939; the long version of the anthem is used for the king, while the short version is used for the prince, prime minister, and occasions such as sporting events


Economic overview

After a prolonged recession that began in 2008 in the wake of the global financial crisis, Spain marked the fourth full year of positive economic growth in 2017, with economic activity surpassing its pre-crisis peak, largely because of increased private consumption. The financial crisis of 2008 broke 16 consecutive years of economic growth for Spain, leading to an economic contraction that lasted until late 2013. In that year, the government successfully shored up its struggling banking sector - heavily exposed to the collapse of Spain’s real estate boom - with the help of an EU-funded restructuring and recapitalization program.

Until 2014, contraction in bank lending, fiscal austerity, and high unemployment constrained domestic consumption and investment. The unemployment rate rose from a low of about 8% in 2007 to more than 26% in 2013, but labor reforms prompted a modest reduction to 16.4% in 2017. High unemployment strained Spain's public finances, as spending on social benefits increased while tax revenues fell. Spain’s budget deficit peaked at 11.4% of GDP in 2010, but Spain gradually reduced the deficit to about 3.3% of GDP in 2017. Public debt has increased substantially – from 60.1% of GDP in 2010 to nearly 96.7% in 2017.

Strong export growth helped bring Spain's current account into surplus in 2013 for the first time since 1986 and sustain Spain’s economic growth. Increasing labor productivity and an internal devaluation resulting from moderating labor costs and lower inflation have improved Spain’s export competitiveness and generated foreign investor interest in the economy, restoring FDI flows.

In 2017, the Spanish Government’s minority status constrained its ability to implement controversial labor, pension, health care, tax, and education reforms. The European Commission expects the government to meet its 2017 budget deficit target and anticipates that expected economic growth in 2018 will help the government meet its deficit target. Spain’s borrowing costs are dramatically lower since their peak in mid-2012, and increased economic activity has generated a modest level of inflation, at 2% in 2017.

Real GDP growth rate

1.95% (2019 est.)

2.43% (2018 est.)

2.97% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.7% (2019 est.)

1.6% (2018 est.)

1.9% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A- (2018)

Moody's rating: Baa1 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: A (2019)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1,925,576,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,888,743,000,000 (2018 est.)

$1,843,934,000,000 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 15

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1,393,351,000,000 (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$40,903 (2019 est.)

$40,360 (2018 est.)

$39,575 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 45

Gross national saving

22.9% of GDP (2019 est.)

22.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

22.2% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.6% (2017 est.)

industry: 23.2% (2017 est.)

services: 74.2% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 57.7% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 18.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 20.6% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.6% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 34.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -31.4% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 77.9 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 86.9 (2020)

Trading score: 100 (2020)

Enforcement score: 70.9 (2020)

Agricultural products

barley, milk, wheat, olives, grapes, tomatoes, pork, maize, oranges, sugar beet


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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 4.2%

industry: 24%

services: 71.7% (2009)

Unemployment rate

14.13% (2019 est.)

15.25% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.5%

highest 10%: 24% (2011)


revenues: 498.1 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 539 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

98.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

99% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$29.603 billion (2019 est.)

$27.206 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13


$533.771 billion (2019 est.)

$521.855 billion (2018 est.)

$510.327 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

Exports - partners

France 15%, Germany 11%, Portugal 8%, Italy 8%, United Kingdom 7%, United States 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

cars and vehicle parts, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, delivery trucks, clothing and apparel (2019)


$463.145 billion (2019 est.)

$459.742 billion (2018 est.)

$441.197 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Imports - partners

Germany 13%, France 11%, China 8%, Italy 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, cars and vehicle parts, packaged medicines, natural gas, refined petroleum (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$69.41 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$63.14 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 32

Debt - external

$2,338,853,000,000 (2019 est.)

$2,366,534,000,000 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 11

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.82771 (2020 est.)

0.90338 (2019 est.)

0.87789 (2018 est.)

0.7525 (2014 est.)

0.7634 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 21,065,700

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 42.4 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 58,750,448

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 118.25 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 27

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: well-developed, one of the largest telecom markets in Europe, average mobile penetration for Europe; LTE universal; launch of 5G services; regulator has championed competition; Chinese company Huawei contributes to the telecom sector; fiber broadband accounts for 62% of all fixed-line broadband connections (2020)

domestic: fixed-line 42 per 100 and mobile-cellular 118 telephones per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 34; landing points for the MAREA, Tata TGN-Western Europe, Pencan-9, SAT-3/WASC, Canalink, Atlantis-2, Columbus -111, Estepona-Tetouan, FEA, Balalink, ORVAL and PENBAL-5 submarine cables providing connectivity to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia, Southeast Asia and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to adjacent countries (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

a mixture of both publicly operated and privately owned TV and radio stations; overall, hundreds of TV channels are available including national, regional, local, public, and international channels; satellite and cable TV systems available; multiple national radio networks, a large number of regional radio networks, and a larger number of local radio stations; overall, hundreds of radio stations 


Internet users

total: 42,478,990

percent of population: 86.11% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 15,176,954

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 31 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 21 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 552

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 80,672,105 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,117,070,000 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 102 (2020)

over 3,047 m: 18

2,438 to 3,047 m: 16

1,524 to 2,437 m: 19

914 to 1,523 m: 26

under 914 m: 23

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 33 (2020)

914 to 1,523 m: 14

under 914 m: 19


13 (2020)


10481 km gas, 358 km oil, 4378 km refined products (2017)


total: 15,333 km (9,699 km electrified) (2017)

standard gauge: 2,571 km 1.435-m gauge (2,571 km electrified) (2017)

narrow gauge: 1,207 km 1.000-m gauge (400 km electrified) (2017)

broad gauge: 11,333 km 1.668-m gauge (6,538 km electrified) (2017)

mixed gauge: 190 km 1.668-m and 1.435m gage (190.1 km electrified); 28 km 0.914-m gauge (28 km electrified); 4 km 0.600-m gauge

country comparison to the world: 19


total: 683,175 km (2011)

paved: 683,175 km (includes 16,205 km of expressways) (2011)

country comparison to the world: 11

Merchant marine

total: 474

by type: bulk carrier 1, general cargo 36, oil tanker 25, other 412 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 43

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Algeciras, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cartagena, Huelva, Tarragona, Valencia (all in Spain); Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (in the Canary Islands)

container port(s) (TEUs): Algeciras (4,389,836), Barcelona (2,968,757), Valencia (4,832,156) (2017)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Barcelona, Bilbao, Cartagena, Huelva, Mugardos, Sagunto

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Spanish Armed Forces: Army (Ejercito de Tierra), Spanish Navy (Armada Espanola, AE, includes Marine Corps), Spanish Air Force (Ejercito del Aire Espanola, EdA); Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) (2021)

note: the Civil Guard is a military force with police duties (including coast guard) under both the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior; it also responds to the needs of the Ministry of Finance

Military expenditures

1.16% of GDP (2020 est.)

0.91% of GDP (2019)

0.93% of GDP (2018)

0.91% of GDP (2017)

0.81% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 117

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Spanish Armed Forces have approximately 120,000 active duty troops (75,000 Army; 25,000 Navy, inc about 5,000 marines; 20,000 Air Force); 80,000 Guardia Civil (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Spanish military is comprised of domestically-produced and imported Western weapons systems; France, Germany, and the US are the leading suppliers of military hardware since 2010; Spain's defense industry manufactures land, air, and sea weapons systems and is integrated within the European defense-industrial sector (2020)

Military deployments

approximately 200 Iraq (training mission, counter-ISIS coalition); 350 Latvia (NATO); 625 Lebanon (UNIFIL); approximately 400 Mali (EUTM); 150 Turkey (NATO) (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-26 years of age for voluntary military service by a Spanish citizen or legal immigrant, 2-3 year obligation; women allowed to serve in all SAF branches, including combat units; no conscription (abolished 2001), but Spanish Government retains right to mobilize citizens 19-25 years of age in a national emergency (2019)


Terrorist group(s)

Basque Fatherland and Liberty (disbanded 2018); Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS); al-Qa’ida (2020)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to reject any "shared sovereignty" arrangement; the Government of Gibraltar insists on equal participation in talks between the UK and Spain; Spain disapproves of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; after voters in the UK chose to leave the EU in a June 2016 referendum, Spain again proposed shared sovereignty of Gibraltar; UK officials rejected Spain’s joint sovereignty proposal; Morocco protests Spain's control over the coastal enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas, and surrounding waters; both countries claim Isla Perejil (Leila Island); Morocco serves as the primary launching site of illegal migration into Spain from North Africa; Portugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza based on a difference of interpretation of the 1815 Congress of Vienna and the 1801 Treaty of Badajoz

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 14,133 (Syria) (2019); 76,456 (Venezuela) (economic and political crisis; includes Venezuelans who have claimed asylum, are recognized as refugees, or have received alternative legal stay) (2021)

stateless persons: 4,246 (2019)

note: 205,427 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-March 2021)

Illicit drugs

despite rigorous law enforcement efforts, North African, Latin American, Galician, and other European traffickers take advantage of Spain's long coastline to land large shipments of cocaine and hashish for distribution to the European market; consumer for Latin American cocaine and North African hashish; destination and minor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering site for Colombian narcotics trafficking organizations and organized crime