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macrohistory & world report

Kingdom of Spain

Map of Spain

Spain (capital Madrid) and neighboring states. Spain's Canary Islands are not shown.

World Factbook as of October 2014: "Spain experienced a prolonged recession in the wake of the global financial crisis... Economic growth resumed in late 2013, albeit only modestly, as credit contraction in the private sector, fiscal austerity, and high unemployment continued to weigh on domestic consumption and investment. Exports, however, have been resilient throughout the economic downturn, partially offsetting declines in domestic consumption and helped to bring Spain's current account into surplus in 2013 for the first time since 1986... Spain gradually reduced the deficit to just under 7% of GDP in 2013, slightly above the 6.5% target negotiated between Spain and the EU. Public debt has increased substantially – from 60.1% of GDP in 2010 to 93.4% in 2013. Rising labor productivity, moderating labor costs, and lower inflation have helped to improve foreign investor interest in the economy and to reduce government borrowing costs. The government's ongoing efforts to implement reforms – labor, pension, health, tax, and education – are aimed at supporting investor sentiment. The government also has shored up struggling banks exposed to Spain's depressed domestic construction and real estate sectors by successfully completing an EU-funded restructuring and recapitalization program in December 2013."

June 2012: Spain had a balanced budget and even a surplus government budget prior to the economic crisis of 2008. Spain is now in an economic depression and it is written that Spaniards in general are not to blame. The Guardian has blamed instead "... property developers and land speculators, together with the senior bank staff who made [bad] loans." Banks borrowed money from international lenders in order to make more loans to developers and home buyers – an exuberant financial run-around that collapsed. Now employers are not hiring, cutting wages and working their staffs harder, maybe 9-hours for an 8-hour day. In mid-April 2012, the economist Paul Krugman described Spain's austerity measures during its depression as "insane."

Spain's health system has been described as similar to that of Britain.

Economic growth rate
2013: -1.3%
2012: -1.6%
2011: 0.1%

Unemployment rate
2011: 20.8%
2010: 20.1%
2009: 18.1%

Value Added Tax 8%

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 107th among 141 countries (higher rank number – not to be confused with score number – is more equal, lower rank number is less equal).

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2005: 1.2%

People

Living in an urban area
2011: 77.4%

Net migration rate
2014: More arriving than leaving. A net gain of 7.24 persons per 1,000 population
2011: More arriving than leaving. A net gain of 3.89 persons per 1,000 population.

Ethnic groups
 17 percent Catalan, 7 percent Galician, and 2 percent Basque.

Spain is second only to Denmark in pork consumption.

Religion
Wikipedia, 2011: "Roman Catholicism has long been the main religion of Spain, and although it no longer has official status by law, in all public schools in Spain students have to choose either religion or ethics and Catholic is the only religion officially taught although in some schools there are large[citation needed] numbers of Muslim students together. According to a July 2009 study by the Spanish Center of Sociological Research about 73% of Spaniards self-identify as Catholics, 2.1% other faith, and about 22% identify with no religion among which 7.3% are atheists...But according to a December 2006 study, 48% of the population declared a belief in a supreme being, while 41% described themselves as atheist or agnostic. Altogether, about 22% of the entire Spanish population attends religious services at least once per month. never attend services. The New York Times reports, on April 19 2005, that 18 percent of Catholics attend mass weekly.

Geography

Southwestern Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, and Pyrenees Mountains; southwest of France

Government

Spain is a constitutional monarchy also described as a parliamentary monarchy. Capital: Madrid.

Recent History

November 22, 1975, two days after Francisco Franco's death, Juan Carlos becomes king. Some on the left associate Carlos with fascism and think he will not last long. Carlos will institute democratic reforms, become highly respected and a stabilizing influence on Spain. The Spanish monarchy becomes not unlike the monarchies of the Britain, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Denmark.

Summer, 2004: Spain has been a tourist destination second in popularity only to France. People from farther north enjoy is sun and beaches. But for the second summer season, tourism is down. This year, hotels along Spain's beaches are having 40 percent vacancies. One possible reason, people are doing it where it is cheaper – in Croatia along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, Tunisia or Turkey.

In 2006 Spain is described as having fewer McDonald's restaurants per capita than a lot of nations: 6.8 McDonald's for every million people compared to 44 per million in the US, 35.5 per million in Australia, 28.3 per million in Japan and 18.5 per million in the UK.

BBC: 2010 February - Thousands of workers demonstrate against government spending cuts and plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 67

December 21, 2011: Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative People's Party, becomes prime minister.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.