When you think of Spain, images of bull fighting, Flamenco dancing and fiestas undoubtedly spring to mind. But what else is there to Spain? These interesting Spanish facts will get you prepared if you’re planning a move to Spain, or if you are already here, test yourself to see how well you know the Spanish!
- The Kingdom of Spain, as it’s officially known, is the second largest country in the EU – with an area of 505,955 square kilometres, Spain covers about 85 percent of the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with Portugal.
- Spain was once a number of separate kingdoms with different languages – which were unified in the 15th century after the marriage of two Catholic monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. These kingdoms became the basis for many of the different regions in modern Spain. Today, there are 17 autonomous regions (15 on the mainland and the Balearic and Canary Islands), and two autonomous enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa.
- Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world – with more than 406 million people worldwide speaking Spanish, it comes only after Chinese. Back home, while Castilian Spanish is the official language, in Catalonia, the Basque country and Galicia, the regional languages of Catalan, Basque and Galician all have official status.
- Nudity is legal in Spain – some say all the better to enjoy the country’s mainly Mediterranean-temperate climate with its hot dry summers, mild, rainy winters and more than 3,000 hours of sunlight a year. Spain also had the youngest marrying age in Europe before it changed the legal age from 14 to 16 years in 2015.
- The population of just under 47 million is the sixth largest in Europe – with more than three-quarters living in urban areas. Around six million people live in Madrid and five million in Barcelona – both cities have more inhabitants than the entire populations of Ireland or New Zealand.
- Spain has the fourth highest life expectancy of all the OECD countries – with a life expectancy of 82 years, it comes after Switzerland, Italy and Japan, and ranks 15th in the world. Spanish women live longer than men: 85 compared to 79 years.
- The United Nations projects that Spain will be the world’s oldest country by 2050 – with 40 percent of the population aged over 60.
8.Only 13.6 percent of Spain’s population actually goes to church on Sundays – yet some 70 percent of the population are Roman Catholic, according to a 2012 study by the Centre for Sociological Studies in Spain.
9.Spain is a constitutional monarchy – former king Juan Carlos I came to the throne after the right-wing dictator General Franco died in 1975. Once one of Europe’s most beloved monarchs, Juan Carlos fell from favour in recent years and abdicated in favour of his son, King Felipe VI, in 2014.
10.There is only one tax inspector for every 1,928 taxpayers – compared to one per 729 people in France. So while Spain’s economy ranked 13th in the world, with a GDP of 1,356 billion USD (EUR 989 billion) in the 2013 Centre for Economic Research (Cebr) World Economic League Table, the Spanish Inland Revenue says a quarter of the GDP comes from the ‘black’ economy.11.In 2015, Spain has the second highest unemployment rate in Europe – and third highest among the OECD countries at 24.2 percent, only slightly behind Greece and South Africa, and high above the OECD average of 7.3 percent (2014). Youth unemployment is even worse: around half of 15 to 24 year-olds who could be working are unemployed. 12.Female entrepreneurs set up 40 percent of all new businesses in Spain – since the beginning of the recession in 2008 to 2013, totalling some 800,000 businesses.