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Spain:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

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Overview Spain

Contents

Spain:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Spain:Historical Development

Spain:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Spain:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Spain:Political and Economic Situation

Spain:Organisation and Governance

Spain:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Spain:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Spain:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Spain:Organisation of Private Education

Spain:National Qualifications Framework

Spain:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Spain:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Spain:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Spain:Funding in Education

Spain:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Spain:Higher Education Funding

Spain:Adult Education and Training Funding

Spain:Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Primary Education

Spain:Organisation of Primary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Spain:Assessment in Primary Education

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Spain:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Vocational Lower Secondary Education: Basic Vocational Training cycles

Spain:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Higher Education

Spain:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Spain:First Cycle Programmes

Spain:Bachelor

Spain:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Spain:Second Cycle Programmes

Spain:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Spain:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Spain:Adult Education and Training

Spain:Distribution of Responsibilities

Spain:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Spain:Main Providers

Spain:Main Types of Provision

Spain:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Spain:Teachers and Education Staff

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Management and Other Education Staff

Spain:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Spain:Management Staff for Higher Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Quality Assurance

Spain:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Educational Support and Guidance

Spain:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Spain:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Spain:Mobility and Internationalisation

Spain:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Mobility in Higher Education

Spain:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Spain:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Spain:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:National Reforms in School Education

Spain:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Spain:National Reforms in Higher Education

Spain:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Spain:European Perspective

Spain:Legislation

Spain:Institutions

Spain:Bibliography

Spain:Glossary

 

Demographic situation

Spain’s total land area is 505 968.36 km2, with a population density of 93.42 inhabitants/km2. The proportion of the population living in urban areas is 79%. 

In 2014, the country’s population decreased by 0.8% compared to the previous year, with 46 771 341 inhabitants. The ratio of males to females is 96.8%, that is, for every 100 women living in Spain, there are about 97 men.

Added to the population loss, there is the ageing of the population. Some of the indicators that provide information in this respect are the following:

  • The average age of the population, which is 42 years.
  • The ageing index, 112.2%, which means that, for every 100 minors under the age of 16, there are 112 people over the age of 64.
  • The dependency ratio, 52.1%, which indicates that, for every 100 economically active people, there are 52 inactive people.
  • The population distribution by age, the indicator that provides greater information on the ageing of the population:

Population distribution by age in Spain (percentage) (and according to Autonomous Community)


0-14 years
15-29 years
30-44 years
54-59 years
60-74 years
75 years and over
2000 14.5
23.1
23.2
17.5
14.4
7.3
2005 14.2
21.0
24.9
18.5
13.6
7.9
2014 15.1
15.8
24.6
21.2
14.2
9.2

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of data from the National Statistics Institute.

Since 2005, the Spanish population aged 15-29 has fallen by 5.2 percentage points and the 30-44 age group by 0.3 points. Conversely, the population aged 0-14 has increased by 0.9 points, the 54-59 age group by 2.7 points, the population aged 60-74 by 0.6 points, and those aged 75 and over by 1.3 points.

Regarding migratory flows, between 2000 and 2010, Spain became a host country for immigrants. Since 2010, however, its migration balance has been negative. According to data from the National Statistics Institute for 2013, for every thousand people, Spain has lost 5 residents. There are currently 5 023 487 registered foreign people living in Spain.

Registered foreign population in Spain according to nationality (region of origin) (and according to Autonomous Community)


2000
2005
2014
European Union
375 486
774 953
2 056 903
Rest of Europe
54 357
577 300
242 262
Africa
228 972
713 974
1 076 164
North America
22 844
51 619
56 177
Central America and the Caribbean
48 020
119 985
211 571
South America
135 904
1 302 889
995 282
Asia 56 547
186 848
381 819
Oceania
1 264
2 321
2 701
Stateless people
413
721
608
TOTAL 923 879
3 730 610
5 023 487

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of data from the National Statistics Institute.

In 2014, most of the foreign population comes from countries which are members of the European Union (EU) and Africa, with immigration from South America, which was major in 2005, decreasing.

Population migrating abroad. 20141 (region of destination) (and according to Autonomous Community)


2014
European Union
191 816
Rest of Europe
17 133
Africa
41 138
North America
16 939
Central America and the Caribbean
13 264
South America
99 472
Asia 28 424
Oceania
1 156
TOTAL 409 343

1Provisional figures. Data for 2000 and 2005 are not provided as these data are only available since 2008.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of data from the National Statistics Institute.

Most of the people who emigrated abroad in 2014 went to some country within the EU (40.5%) or South America (29.8%). Unemployment, one of the main social problems in Spain which particularly affects the youngest, appears to be an important factor contributing to this population loss.

Another group that is particularly affected by unemployment is that of people over the age of 45. The unemployment rate for those aged 45-49 was 21.74% in 2014, due to difficulties in re-entering the current labour market.

Employment and unemployment1 rates in Spain (and according to Autonomous Community)


Employed people
Unemployed people
Inactive people
Employment
Unemployment
2000 15 642 700
2 428 400
15 351 600
46.7
13.4
2005 19 509 200
1 860 300
15 426 900
53.0
8.7
2014 17 569 100
5 457 700
15 496 500
45.6
23.7

1The Economically Active Population Survey is a sample-based, continuous and quarterly research focusing on families. Its main purpose is obtaining data on workforce and its several categories (employed, unemployed), as well as on population out of the labour force (inactive). The data in the table correspond to the fourth quarter of the indicated years.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of the Economically Active Population Survey of the National Statistics Institute.

The unemployment rate in 2014 was 23.7%, affecting women (24.7%) more than men (22.8%). The decline in employment since 2005 and the increase in the number of unemployed people provide a clear idea of how unemployment has become one of the most serious worries for Spanish citizens. 

Impact of socio-demographic changes in the Spanish education system (and according to Autonomous Community)

The 2000-2010 decade represented an important change in the composition of students. During these years, due to immigration, the proportion of foreign students in the Spanish education system grew exponentially, increasing from 1.4% in 1999/2000 to 10% in 2009/10. Since then, the number of foreign students was stable, with the proportion decreasing. In 2013/14, the figure was 736 249, representing a decrease which was slightly smaller than the one during the previous academic year, 3.5%. Most of them are enrolled in primary education (33.5%) and compulsory secondary education (26%).

The increase in the number of foreign students, which is mainly the case in public schools, implies the adoption of measures to ensure they are ready to join a class. Spanish legislation guarantees access to the education system for students within the compulsory schooling age who, coming from other countries, have a late entry into the system. For detailed information on measures for students who have a late entry into the education system, see section Students entering late the education system.

Reducing the high dropout rate from education and training is one of the main educational challenges of Spain. The percentage of early school leavers aged 18-24 remained above 30% until 2010. The composition of the labour market, which required unskilled labour during the years of economic growth linked to the real state sector, led many Spanish young people to drop out of school in order to study. Declining employment, especially in the construction sector, resulted in many people who had dropped out of school returning to education or training as they were unemployed. The dropout rate has gradually decreased since 2010, currently falling to 21.9%.

The decline in early school leaving is also reflected in an increase in enrolment rates, which, in 2010, was 61% in the case of young people aged 16-24 and, in 2014, stood at 68.4%. This increase has taken place in formal education, whereas rates have slightly dropped in non-formal education. This indicates that, at present, the younger population remain in education for longer, instead of dropping out to enter the labour market. 

The increase in the number of young people aged 15-34 who are neither in education nor employment, particularly since 2009, results from the unemployment of those who had left school prematurely. However, in 2014, the figure stands at 22.14%, a decrease of 1.6 percentage points compared with the previous year. This percentage is significantly higher in the case of young people with less than the second stage of secondary education (32.5%), whereas the share is lower (17%) among those who have an education above this stage.

Languages

Spain is a multilingual country, but, apart from Spanish as the official language, certain Autonomous Communities have a co-official language. Catalan is spoken in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, as well as in parts of Aragon and the Principality of Andorra. Valencian is the language used in the Valencian Community, Galician is spoken in Galicia and Basque is used in the Basque Country and in some areas of Navarre. In Asturias the official language is Spanish, but there is also a traditionally recognised language, Bable.

Spanish is the vehicular language throughout the country, as well as co-official languages in those Autonomous Communities. The 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education establishes that the education authorities must guarantee that lessons are taught in Spanish and in the co-official languages, so that, on completion of basic education, students can understand and express themselves in both spoken and written Spanish and the relevant co-official language. It also stipulates that the education authorities must adopt the necessary measures so that instruction in Spanish and in the co-official languages does not result in discrimination.

There are four linguistic models regarding the teaching of the official languages depending on the language mostly spoken in the Autonomous Community in question:

  • Only Spanish.
  • Spanish as the language of instruction with the co-official language being taught as a single subject.
  • Bilingual education.
  • The co-official language as the language of instruction with Spanish being taught as a single subject.

Regarding foreign languages, the 2006 Education Act includes the objectives of the EU for languages to become a means to build European citizenship and mobility, as well as to favour cultural and linguistic exchange. In accordance with the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, which modifies the Education Act and is currently being implemented, the promotion of foreign language learning in compulsory and post-compulsory education is a priority. Amongst the measures planned in the new Act for compulsory education students, one of the aspects considered as key to assess school success at this stage is foreign language performance.

Finally, the education authorities have developed different ways of teaching, the teaching of foreign languages as a single subject or Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). In addition, within their own territories, they promote the creation of bilingual institutions (in Autonomous Communities with an official language where special attention is paid to the priority languages of the EU: English, French and German) or multilingual institutions (in Autonomous Communities with two co-official languages which also include those languages) through Plans for the Promotion of Multilingualism.

Religions

The Spanish Constitution guarantees freedom of ideas, religion and worship for individuals and communities. No denomination has an official status. According to data from the Centre for Sociological Research, in February 2015, 69.4% of citizens declared to be Catholic, 2.5% believers of other religion, 15.4% non-believers and 10.9% atheists.

The Agreement on Education and Cultural Affairs signed between the Holy See and the Spanish State addresses all matters relating to the teaching of the Catholic faith. The 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education establishes that all schools have to offer the subject of Catholic Religion compulsorily, although the subject is voluntary for students. The Act also stipulates that the teaching of other religions will be subject to the Cooperation Agreements signed with other religious bodies.