General Information About Spain



SPANISH-FLAG

Capital: Madrid, 6.574 million
Ruler: King Felipe VI (2014)
Prime Minister: Mariano Rajoy (2011)
Land area: 192,819 sq mi (499,401 sq km); total area: 194,896 sq mi (504,782 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 47,737,941 (growth rate: 0.81%); birth rate: 9.88/1000; infant mortality rate: 3.33/1000; life expectancy: 81.47; density per sq mi: 240
Other large cities: Barcelona, 5.57 million; Valencia, 797,000
Monetary unit: Euro (formerly peseta)

Spain occupies 85% of the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with Portugal, in southwest Europe. Africa is less than 10 mi (16 km) south at the Strait of Gibraltar. A broad central plateau slopes to the south and east, crossed by a series of mountain ranges and river valleys. Principal rivers are the Ebro in the northeast, the Tajo in the central region, and the Guadalquivir in the south. Off Spain’s east coast in the Mediterranean are the Balearic Islands (1,936 sq mi; 5,014 sq km), the largest of which is Majorca. Sixty mi (97 km) west of Africa are the Canary Islands (2,808 sq mi; 7,273 sq km).

Spain has the thirteenth-largest economy by nominal GDP in the world, and sixteenth-largest by purchasing power parity. The Spanish economy is the fifth-largest in the European Union, and the fourth-largest in the Eurozone, based on nominal GDP statistics. In 2012, Spain was the eighteenth-largest exporter in the world and the sixteenth-largest importer.

Spain is listed 23rd in UN Human Development Index and 30th in GDP(PPP) per capita by World Bank, thus it is classified as high income economy and among the countries of very high human development. However, since the GFC, the Spanish economy’s recent macroeconomic performance has been poor. Between 2008 and 2012, the economic boom of the 2000s was reversed, leaving over a quarter of Spain’s workforce unemployed by 2012. In 2012, the Spanish economy contracted by 1.4% and was in recession until Q3 of 2013.

Despite the poor recent performance of the Spanish economy generally, Spain’s international trade situation has improved. During the boom years, Spain had built up a trade deficit eventually reaching a record amounting to 10% of GDP (2007). During the economic downturn, Spain has been significantly reducing imports, increasing exports and kept attracting growing numbers of tourists. As a result, in 2013 it achieved a trade surplus for the first time in three decades. In their global forecast report dated October 2014, the IMF improved the 2015 GDP growth forecast for Spain, putting it ahead of the Eurozone major economies.

Spain is a member of the European Union, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Trade Organization.