demographic indicators

demographic indicators
   In 1995 Spain had a population very close to 40 million. At 78 inhabitants per km2, its population density is well below those of France (103 per km2), Italy (192 per km2) or the UK (235 per km2), but the population is very unevenly spread. 60 percent of the country's inhabitants are to be found in the periphery and the archipelagos, with only a few large population centres in the interior (Madrid, Zaragoza, Valladolid). Spain is highly urbanized: 50 percent of the population lives in cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants, or 80 percent if we include those of more than 50,000 inhabitants.
   After strong population growth in the 1960s and 1970s there was a marked deceleration in the 1980s. The strong growth of the 1960s and early 1970s was due to both a high birth rate and a falling mortality rate. In the 1980s, however, the birth rate fell dramatically from a high point of twenty-two per thousand in 1960 to ten per thousand by 1991. In the late 1990s the fertility rate (average number of children born per woman), at 1.2, was the lowest in Europe. The fall in the fertility rate has been accompanied by a marked rise in the age at which women have children. As the mortality rate creeps up again because of the changing age structure of the population (by the year 2020 there are likely to be more Spaniards aged over 60 than under 16), the low fertility rate, if sustained, must mean a gradual decline in population. Nevertheless life expectancy at birth remains very high (78 years, higher than in most EU countries) and infant mortality is lower than ever and comparable to that across the EU, so both factors together should ensure population stability for several decades, although the potentially active population (16 to 64) will decline and the dependency ratio will rise. Population stability is also helped by the fact that immigration exceeds emigration (a reversal of the trend of the 1960s and early 1970s), but it is impossible to quantify because much of it is illegal (see also immigrants). Although legal foreign residents number just over half a million, the total figure is thought to be in the region of 800,000. Many of the illegal immigrants come from North Africa and the poorer countries of Latin America.
   Further reading
   - De Miguel, A. (1992) La sociedad española 199293, Madrid: Alianza Editorial, pp. 35–147 (the first volume in a series based on yearly surveys; a highly useful sociological tool).
   - Puyol Antolín, R. (1988) La población española, Madrid: Editorial Síntesis (adopts a predominantly geographical or spatial approach to population questions).
   - V Informe sociológico sobre la situación social de España (1994) Madrid: Fundación FOESSA, vol. 1, pp. 145–413 (the most complete social survey of Spain and an indispensable source of sociological information).
   C. A. LONGHURST

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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