Many different groups of people live in Spain. Cultural differences in dialect and tradition exist between Castilians, Asturians, Aragonians and Andalusians. Basques, Catalans and the Galicians, who are close to the Portuguese, even occupy a special position with special rights in folk culture and language. The official language is the Spanish spoken by the Castilians; Catalan, Basque and Galician are regional official languages.
The regional distribution of the population is very uneven; while large areas of the interior are only sparsely populated (10-25 residents / km²), the large cities and coastal plains are very densely populated. The country’s average population density is (2019) 93 residents / km². The most densely populated are the capital region of Madrid (811 residents / km²), the Basque Country (303 residents / km²) and the Canary Islands (283 residents / km²). The regions of Castile-León (25 residents / km²), Extremadura and Castile-La Mancha (both 26 residents / km²) have the lowest population density. In 2017, 80% of the total population lived in cities and only 20% in rural communities.
Overall, Spain’s population is growing only a little. This is because, during the severe economic crisis between 2009 and 2014, some Spaniards left the country to look for a job. As a result, the birth rate in Spain has fallen rapidly since the financial and economic crisis and in 2018 was the bottom of Europe with 8.4 live births / 1000 residents. In addition to emigration, the high unemployment among the young workforce and declining incomes, which make it difficult to start a family, are other reasons for this. The slight population growth in Spain is therefore due to immigration from Latin America and Africa. The Spanish population is aging because of the declining birth rate and increasing life expectancy. While the proportion of the young population (0-14 years) fell from 25% to 15% between 1980 and 2019, the proportion of the older population (65 years and older) increased from 11% to 19% over the same period. Around 12% of the total population are foreign nationals.
Religion: The Spanish Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. According to a representative survey (2019) 69.2% of Spaniards belong to the Catholic Church, 3.5% describe themselves as Muslims and 8% as non-denominational. Other Christian denominations such as the Protestant, Reformed and Anglican churches only play a subordinate role in numbers. The Jewish community, whose history in Spain goes back to the 4th century, has up to 40,000 members (= 0.08% of the population).
Education: Attending a school in Spain is free as part of compulsory education. About a third of the students, however, attend a private institution that requires school fees. The ten-year period of compulsory schooling extends from 6 to 16 years of age and includes six years of primary and four-year lower secondary level I. Lower secondary level leads to the graduation certificate, which is the transition to the voluntary two-year general and preparatory upper secondary level II with a high school diploma (Bachillerato) or qualified for the two-year intermediate level vocational training. The recognized national languages are compulsory for all levels of education in the relevant autonomous communities. Almost 60% of the Spanish population have completed higher secondary education; a rather low value in European comparison (Germany: 81%; EU: 74%). Some school leavers have no qualifications at all and are more likely to experience unemployment, social exclusion and poverty later in life.
In the higher education sector, according to toppharmacyschools, there are over 8,000 universities, technical colleges, technical colleges as well as art and music colleges. The universities in Salamanca (founded 1218), Valladolid (founded 1346) and Barcelona (founded 1450) are among the oldest in Europe. The largest Spanish university with almost 80,000 students is the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Media: Freedom of expression and freedom of the press have only been constitutionally guaranteed since 1976. The awareness of political information among the Spanish population has increased considerably in recent years. The media landscape in Spain is diverse. The most important mass medium is television. In 2018, around 85% of all Spaniards over the age of 14 watched TV an average of 3.5 hours a day.
Of all the media, on the other hand, the radio enjoys the greatest trust. The average number of listeners in 2018 was just over 10 million. Their radio consumption was around 100 minutes / day.
In an EU-wide comparison, daily newspapers are of very little importance in Spain. In 2018, Spain had just 102 readers per 1,000 residents (EU: 201 readers; Germany: 282 readers). The three largest of over 13,000 daily newspapers appear in Madrid: the left-liberal »El País« (founded in 1976; PSOE-affiliated; edition 2018: 167,500) and the conservative papers »El Mundo« (founded in 1989; edition 2018: 123,000) and »ABC« (founded in 1905; edition 2018: 105,000). With Marca (circulation 2018: 154,000) and As (circulation 2018: 134,000) there are two daily newspapers that specialize solely in sports reporting.
In 2018, around 82% of the Spanish population used the Internet (EU: 85%; Germany: 92%). The most common device when using the Internet is the smartphone (96%), followed by laptops (51%) and tablets (31%). In terms of online activities, games, videos and music dominate (83% of all internet users between 16 and 74 years of age), reading the news (78%), participating in social networks (54%) and making video calls (31%). Around 60% of Spanish Internet users also buy goods or services on the Internet and do online banking. Home office was before the COVID-19 -Pandemic with a share of 4.3% (2018) among Spanish employees is comparatively low (Germany: 5%; EU frontrunner Netherlands: 14%).