Spain Population and Religion

Spain Population and Religion

Spain, Spanish España [at yield pa ɲ a] officially Reino de España [ rrεino de -] German Kingdom of Spain, country in south Europe, on the Iberian peninsula (2019) 47.1 million residents; The capital is Madrid.

Spain also includes the Balearic and Canary Islands as well as the North African possessions of Ceuta and Melilla.


The ethnic origins of the population are diverse. There are differences between Castilians, Asturians, Aragonians and Andalusians. Basques (with their own pre-Indo-European language), Catalans (with their own Romance written and literary language) and, to a lesser extent, the Galicians who are close to the Portuguese (with their own Romance idiom) occupy a special position in folk culture and language. The official language Spanish is based on the Castilian dialect (castellano); Catalan, Basque and Galician are regional official languages.

The regional distribution of the population is extremely uneven; while large areas of the interior of the country have only low population densities (10-25 residents / km 2), urban agglomerations, valley zones and coastal plains sometimes have very high density values. The national average population density is (2019) 93 residents / km 2. 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), while the regions of Castile-León (25 residents / km²) and Extremadura have the lowest densities and Castile-La Mancha (both 26 residents / km²).

The biggest cities in Spain

Largest cities (pop., Estimate 2020)
Madrid 3,334,700
Barcelona 1,664,200
Valencia 800 200
Seville 691 400
Zaragoza 681 900

The strong rural exodus of the 1960s and 1970s weakened in the 1980s and in some cases even reversed slightly in the 1990s: the large metropolises have since recorded a decline in migration and the coastal regions are gaining in population; In 2017, 80% of the total population lived in places with more than 10,000 residents (only 66% in 1970) and only 20% in rural communities. Since the financial and economic crisis of 2007, the birth rate in Spain has fallen rapidly and in 2018 came up to the bottom of Europe with only 8.4 live births / 1000 residents. The causes are high unemployment, especially among the young labor force, as well as declining incomes overall, which make it more difficult to start a family.

The slight population growth in Spain in recent years was therefore based solely on gains from immigration from Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. However, this generative behavior and the generally increasing life expectancy in the Spanish population have resulted in their rapid aging. 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 (2019) were foreign nationals. The number of asylum seekers in Spain was only 34,871 at the end of 2017 after border fences were erected in the south on the border with Africa.

Since the Reconquista, the social structure has been characterized by the contrast between the wealthy upper class (nobility, military, church) and impoverished small farmers, tenants and day laborers. Since the middle of the 20th century, and especially since joining the EU, the Spanish social structure has been adjusting to that of Central Europe.


The constitution (Article 16) guarantees freedom of religion and excludes a state religion. Relations between the state and the Catholic Church as the largest religious community are based on four agreements concluded in 1979 between the state and the Holy See; these replaced the Concordat of 1953, which granted the Catholic Church the role of the state church. The financial equalization paid by the state for the upkeep of the clergy was replaced in 1988 by self-financing by the church through tax-privileged donations amounting to 5.239 ‰ of wage or income tax.

According to a representative survey (2019) from mysteryaround, 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 churches (especially Pentecostals [including »Iglesia Evangélica Filadelfia«], Reformed [»Iglesia Evangélica Española«, seat of the Church President: Barcelona], Baptists and others) and the Anglican Church (»Iglesia Española Reformanda Episcopal«, seat of the bishop: Madrid) play only a subordinate role numerically with an estimated total population of well below 1%. Other separate religious communities with references to Christianity are the Adventists, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The largest non-Christian religious community is made up of the Muslims (especially migrant workers from North Africa). There are over 400 mosques in Spain (an outstanding one is the new Great Mosque in Granada, which was inaugurated in 2003). The Jewish community, whose history in Spain goes back to the 4th century, has an estimated 40,000 members (= 0.08% of the population); their official recognition as a religious community after 1492 (expulsion of the Jews from Spain) took place in 1868.

Spain Population and Religion

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