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Spain - The Society


IN THE DECADE After The Death of Francisco Franco y Bahamonde (in power, 1939-75) in 1975, Spain experienced several powerful transformations. The political transition from a rigid dictatorship to an active parliamentary democracy was widely acknowledged as a highly significant event in West European history. Much more subtle, but equally significant in the long run, was Spain's social and economic transition, described as Spain's "economic miracle," which brought a relatively isolated, conservative social order to the threshold of an advanced industrial democracy. In the decades after the 1930's Civil War, Spain still possessed the social structures and values of a traditional, less developed country. By the late 1980s, Spanish society had already taken on most of the principal characteristics of postindustrial Europe, including a declining rate of births and of population growth generally, an erosion of the nuclear family, a drop in the proportion of the work force in agriculture, and changes in the role of women in society.

Changes in Spain's population reflected this transition quite clearly. Falling birth rates and increased life expectancy combined to produce a rapidly aging population that grew at an extremely slow pace. Spain also experienced massive shifts in the location of its people. Between 1951 and 1981, more than 5 million individuals left the poverty of rural and small-town Spain. Many headed for the more prosperous countries of Western Europe, but the more significant flow was from farm and village to Spain's exploding cities, especially Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao.

Spain's diverse ethnic and linguistic groups have existed for centuries, and they have presented Spanish governments with severe challenges since the nineteenth century. In the late 1980s, about one citizen in four spoke a mother tongue other than Castilian Spanish (primarily Catalan or one of its variants; the Basque language, Euskera; or Galician), but Castilian continued to be the dominant language throughout the country. Indeed, after nearly 150 years of industrial development and the migration of millions of nonethnic Spaniards to the ethnic homelands, particularly Barcelona and Bilbao, the non-Castilian languages were in danger of disappearing. Although the Franco regime began to liberalize its approach to the minority languages late in the 1960s, the overall effect of the dictatorship on these languages was very nearly disastrous. The 1978 Constitution made possible the establishment of regional autonomous governments with the requisite powers and resources to salvage their respective cultures and to make their languages co-official with Castilian in their own regions. Whether this experiment in regional bilingualism would succeed, however, remained to be seen.

In social values, Spain began to resemble its West European neighbors to the north. The status of women, for example, was one of the most notable of these changes, as women began to figure more prominently in education, politics, and the work force generally. Closely associated with these changes were a number of other social characteristics including a more liberal stance on abortion, contraception, divorce, and the role of the large and extended family. The Roman Catholic Church, long a dominant power in Spanish life, opposed these developments, but as Spain became a more materialistic and more secular society, the church's ability to determine social mores and policies was strikingly eroded.

Spain also underwent major changes in its educational system. In 1970 Spanish law made education free and compulsory through the age of fourteen; the challenge in the 1980s was to provide the resources necessary to fulfill this obligation. Although the schools enrolled essentially all the school-age population and the country's illiteracy rate was a nominal 3 percent, the school system was plagued by serious problems, including a rigid tracking system, a high failure rate, and poorly paid instructors. In 1984 the Socialist government passed the Organic Law on the Right to Education (Ley Organica del Derecho a la Educacion--LODE) in an attempt to integrate into a single system the three school systems: public, private secular, and Roman Catholic. Changes reached the university level as well, as the Law on University Reform (Ley de Reforma Universitaria--LRU) made each public university autonomous, subject only to general rules set down in Madrid.

In the late 1980s, Spain continued to rank at the low end of the list of advanced industrial democracies in terms of social welfare. Its citizens enjoyed the usual range of social welfare benefits, including health coverage, retirement benefits, and unemployment insurance, but coverage was less comprehensive than that in most other West European countries. The retirement system was under increasing pressure because of the aging population. Housing construction just barely managed to keep pace with rapid urbanization in the 1970s, and by the late 1980s the country had to begin to address some of the "quality of life" issues connected with housing. The society ranked high on some indicators of health care, such as physician availability, but there were still residual health problems more reminiscent of the Third World, particularly a high incidence of communicable diseases. There were dramatic gains in reducing the infant mortality rate, but severe problems in the areas of public health, safety, and environmental concerns--industrial accidents and air, water, and noise pollution--were a direct outgrowth of uncontrolled, rapid industrialization.


Spain - Population


Size and Growth

In mid-1985, Spain's population reached 38.8 million, making it Western Europe's fifth most populous nation. The country's population grew very slowly throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century and most of the twentieth. In the 1860s, the population increased by only about one-third of one percent annually; by the first decades of the twentieth century, this rate of increase had grown to about 0.7 percent per year. Between the 1930s and the 1980s, population growth rates hovered between 0.8 and 1.2 percent annually. In the postwar years, Spain began to exhibit population growth patterns very similar to those of most other advanced industrial societies. Growth rates were projected to level off, or to decline slightly, through the remainder of the twentieth century; Spain was expected to reach a population of 40 million by 1990 and 42 million by the year 2000. Observers estimated that the country's population would stabilize in the year 2020 at about 46 million.

One significant factor in Spain's population growth has been a declining rate of births. Between 1965 and 1985, Spain experienced a dramatic reduction in its birth rate, from 21 to 13 per thousand, a drop of approximately 38 percent. In 1975, with an estimated base population of about 35.5 million, the country recorded about 675,000 live births; in 1985, with an estimated base population of more than 38 million, Spain had only about 475,000 live births. In other words, ten years after the death of Franco, despite an increase of nearly 3 million in the base population, the country registered more than one-third fewer births.

Part of this change can be attributed to the increase in the percentage of women using contraceptives. Whereas in the 1960s such data were not even reported, by 1984 the World Bank estimated that over half of Spanish women of childbearing age practiced birth control. Demographers have observed, however, that this increased use of contraceptive devices was only the surface reflection of other more significant changes in Spanish society during the period from 1960 to 1985. The economic causes included an economic slump, unemployment, insufficient housing, and the arrival of the consumer society. Also, changes in cultural patterns reflected women's increased access to employment, expanded women's rights, a decline in the number of marriages (between 1974 and 1984, the marriage rate dropped from 7.6 to 5.0 per 1,000), an improved image of couples without children, a decline in the belief that children were the center of the family, increased access to abortion and divorce, and in general a break in the linkage between woman and mother as social roles.

At the same time that the birth rate was dropping sharply, Spain's low death rate also declined slightly, from 8 to 7 per 1,000. By the mid-1980s, life expectancy at birth had reached seventy-seven years, a level equal to or better than that of every other country in Europe except France, and superior to the average of all the world's advanced industrial countries. Male life expectancy increased between 1965 and 1985 from sixty-eight to seventy-four years, while female life expectancy rose from seventy-three to eighty years.

By the early 1980s, Spain, like all advanced industrial countries, had begun to experience the aging of its population. In 1980 a reported 10.6 percent of its population was over 65 years of age, a figure that was only a bare point or two behind the percentages in the United States and the Netherlands. By 1986 the percentage over 65 had climbed to 12.2; officials estimated that by 2001, the percentage over sixty-five would exceed 15. In 1985 children under the age of 14 constituted 25 percent of the population; specialists anticipated that, by the year 2001, this proportion would decline to 18 percent.

Regional Disparities

Spain is more a subcontinent than a country, and its climate, geography, and history produced a state that was little more than a federation of regions until Philip V, a grandson of Louis XIV, brought the centralization of the Bourbon monarchy to the country in the eighteenth century. Modernday Spain contains a number of identifiable regions, each with its own set of cultural, economic, and political characteristics. In many instances, the loyalty of a population is still primarily to its town or region, and only secondarily to the abstract concept of "Spain." Administratively, Spain is organized into seventeen autonomous communities comprising fifty provinces. However, when an autonomous community is made up of only one province, provinccial institutions have been transferred to the autonomous community.

On the map, the Iberian Peninsula resembles a slightly distorted square with the top bent toward the east and spread wide where it joins the rest of Europe. In the center lies the densely populated Spanish capital, Madrid, surrounded by the harsh, sparsely populated Meseta Central. King Philip II made Madrid the capital of Castile (Spanish, Castilla) in the sixteenth century, partly because its remoteness made it an uncontroversial choice. The city, surrounded by a demographic desert, in the late 1980s was still regarded by many Spaniards as an "artificial" capital even though it had long been established as the political center of the country.

Around the periphery of the peninsula are the peoples that have competed with Castilians for centuries over control of Iberia: in the west, the Portuguese (the only group successful in establishing its own state in 1640); in the northwest, the Galicians; along the northern coast of the Bay of Biscay, the Asturians; and, as the coast nears France, the Basques; along the Pyrenees, the Navarrese and the Aragonese; in the northeast, the Catalans; in the east, the Valencians; and in the south, the Andalusians. Although most of these peoples would decline to identify themselves first, foremost, and solely as "Spanish," few of them would choose to secede from Spain. Even among Basques, whose separatist sentiment ran deepest in the late 1980s, those advocating total independence from Spain probably comprised only one-fifth of the ethnic Basque population. Whereas culture provided the centrifugal force, economic ties linked the regions together more closely than an outsider might conclude from their rhetoric.

Spain's seventeen regions, defined by the 1978 Constitution as autonomous communities, vary greatly in size and population, as well as in economic and political weight. For example, Andalusia (Spanish, Andalucia), nearly the size of Portugal, encompasses 17 percent of Spain's land area. The two regions carved out of sparsely populated Castile--Castilla-La Mancha (larger than Ireland) and Castilla y Leon (larger than Austria)--account for 15.6 and 18.7 percent, respectively, of Spain's total area. These three large regions combined account for about 52 percent of the country's total territory. No other autonomous region contains more than 10 percent of the total. The three richest, most densely populated and most heavily industrialized regions--Madrid, Catalonia (Spanish, Cataluna; Catalan, Catalunya), and the Basque Country (Spanish, Pais Vasco; Basque Euskadi)--together account for 9.3 percent of the total. The remaining 40 percent is made up of two medium-sized regions--Aragon (Spanish, Aragon) and Extremadura--each of which holds 8 to 9 percent, and seven much smaller regions that together account for about 20 percent of the national territory. Regional economic disparities between "Rich Spain" and "Poor Spain" were also highly significant, and they continued to shape the country's political debate despite a century of efforts to redistribute the wealth of the country. Imagine a line drawn from about the middle of the north coast, in Asturias, southeastward to Madrid, and then to Valencia. To the north and east of the line lived the people of Rich Spain, sometimes referred to as "Bourgeois Spain," an area already substantially modernized, industrialized, and urbanized, where the transition to an information and services economy was already well under way in the 1980s. To the south and west of the line lay Poor Spain, or "Traditional Spain," where agriculture continued to dominate and where semi-feudal social conditions could still be found. To aggravate this cleavage still further, Rich Spain, with the exception of Madrid, tended to be made up disproportionately of people who felt culturally different from the Castilians and not really "Spanish" at all.

Indicators of economic disparity are stark reminders that not all Spaniards shared in the country's economic miracle. The autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Basque Country, and Madrid accounted for half of Spain's gross national product (GNP) in the late 1980s. Income per capita was only 55 percent of the Catalan level in Extremadura, 64 percent in Andalusia, and 70 percent in Galicia. In Galicia, 46 percent of the population still worked on the land; in Extremadura and the two Castilian regions, 30 to 34 percent did so; but in Catalonia and the Basque Country, only 6 percent depended on the land for their livelihood. In Andalusia, unemployment exceeded 30 percent; in Aragon and in Navarre (Spanish, Navarra) it ran between 15 and 20 percent. A 1987 report by Spain's National Statistics Institute revealed that the country's richest autonomous community, Madrid, exceeded its poorest, Extremadura, by wide margins in every economic category. With the national average equal to zero, Madrid's standard of living measured 1.7 while Extremadura scored -2.0; in family income, the values were Madrid 1.0, Extremadura, -2.1; in economic development, Madrid, 1.7, Extremadura, -2.0; and in endowment in physical and human resources, Madrid, 1.4, Extremadura, -1.7.


The poverty of rural Spain led to a marked shift in population as hundreds of thousands of Spaniards moved out of the poor south and west in search of jobs and a better way of life. Between 1951 and 1981, more than 5 million Spaniards left Poor Spain, first for the prosperous economies of France and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), then for the expanding industrial regions of Spain itself. Nearly 40 percent, or 1.7 million, left Andalusia alone; another million left Castilla y Leon; and slightly fewer than 1 million left CastillaLa Mancha.

By 1970 migrants accounted for about 26 percent of the population in Madrid, 23 percent in Barcelona, and more than 30 percent in the booming Basque province of Alava. In the years after Franco's death, when the economies of some of the industrial areas, especially the Basque region, began to sour, some tens of thousands of these people returned to their provinces of origin. The majority of the migrants of the 1960s and the 1970s, however, were husbands and wives who had moved their families with the idea of staying for a long period, if not permanently. Thus, the great bulk of the migrants stayed on to shape the culture and the politics of their adopted regions. In the long run, this may turn out to be the most significant impact of the Spanish economic miracle on the country's intractable regional disparities.

During the last decade of the Franco era and the first decade of democracy, the population became steadily more urbanized, although Spain was already a fairly urban country even in the 1960s. Between 1965 and 1985, the population living in urban areas rose from 61 to 77 percent of the total, a level slightly higher than the average for the advanced industrial countries. Urbanization intensified during the 1960s and the 1970s, when cities grew at the rate of 2.4 percent annually, but the rate slowed to 1.6 percent during the first half of the 1980s. The mid-decennial census of April 1, 1986, showed that the Madrid area, accounting for 12.5 percent of the total population, continued to dominate the country. The six cities of over half a million--Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Seville, (Spanish, Sevilla), Valencia, Zaragoza--together accounted for approximately 19 percent.

A comparison of population densities among the provinces illustrates dramatically the drain of the rural population toward the major cities. In 1981 Spain's overall population density was 79 persons per square kilometer, about the same as that of Greece or Turkey and far below the average of such heavily urbanized countries as West Germany. Population densities ranged, however, from the practically deserted interior Castilian provinces, like Soria (9 per square kilometer) and Guadalajara (12), to some of the most densely populated territory in Europe, such as Madrid (607 per square kilometer), Barcelona (592 per square kilometer), and Vizcaya (527 per square kilometer). In terms of the autonomous community system, four regions--Madrid (4.9 million people), Catalonia (6.0 million), Valencia (3.8 million), and Andalusia (6.9 million)--held 50 percent of the country's population in 1986. None of the remaining 13 autonomous regions had more than 2.8 million people.

A comparison of regional population distribution changes from 1962 to 1982 shows clearly the effects of urbanization and the transformation of the work force. In this 20-year period, three regions increased their share of the country's population by three percentage points or more: Catalonia (from 13.1 to 16.6), Madrid (from 8.7 to 12.5), and Valencia (from 7.0 to 10.0). Several other regions, notably the Canary Islands and the Basque Country, registered moderate gains of about one percentage point. In contrast, the big losers (declines of three percentage points or more) were Andalusia (19.3 to 16.2) and Castilla y Leon (9.1 to 6.1). Other regions also losing their historical share of the country's population were Castilla-La Mancha, Galicia, and Extremadura. It is clear that during these two decades Spain's population balance shifted dramatically from the poor and rural provinces and regions to the much richer and more urbanized ones. Since the birth rates in the more modernized and more urbanized parts of the country tended to be even lower than the national average (the Spanish birth rate averaged between 14 and 15 per thousand in 1980-85, whereas the Basque Country rate averaged only 12), it is equally clear that this shift in the population balance was due principally to internal migration rather than to changes in birth rates.

Internal migration concentrated primarily on the huge cities of Madrid and Barcelona in the 1960s and the 1970s, but by the 1980s a significant change began to appear in the migration data. An examination of the data for 1983 and 1984--years in which, respectively, 363,000 and 387,000 persons changed residence in Spain--revealed several trends. First, the major losers of population were small towns (of fewer than 2,000 inhabitants each), which sustained a combined net loss of about 10,000 people each year, and large cities (of more than 500,000), which together had a net annual loss of more than 20,000. Second, the major net gains in population were made by cities of between 100,000 and 500,000, which had a net annual increase of more than 20,000. Third, all the other town or city size categories either had stable populations or experienced only small losses or gains. Thus, while provinces like Barcelona, dominated by a single huge city, actually lost population (more than 15,000 people in each of the years 1983 and 1984), provinces like Seville or Las Palmas, with large cities that had not yet reached the bursting point, experienced significant net in-migration. This reflected a more mature form of population relocation than the simple frantic movement from the farm to Madrid or Barcelona that had characterized the earlier decades of the Spanish economic boom.

Migration was significant not only between regions within the country but abroad as well. The movement of the Spanish population abroad resembled that of many Third World countries that sent large waves of migrants to Western Europe and to North America in the late 1960s and the early 1970s in search of better jobs and living standards and in response to labor shortages in the more advanced industrial countries. Between 1960 and 1985, nearly 1.3 million Spaniards emigrated to other West European countries. More than 500,000 went to Switzerland; more than 400,000, to West Germany; and about 277,000, to France. This flow of migrant workers reached its peak in the 1969 to 1973 period, when 512,000 Spanish citizens--some 40 percent of the entire 25-year total, an average of more than 102,000 each year-- migrated. Following the economic downturn in Europe in the mid-1970s, Spanish migration dwindled to between 10,000 and 20,000 each year, although there was a slight increase in the early 1980s in response to worsening economic conditions in Spain itself. In contrast, the late 1970s saw the return of many Spaniards from abroad, especially from Europe, as economic opportunities for Spaniards declined in Europe and as democracy returned to Spain. In the peak return year, 1975, some 110,000 Spaniards returned from Europe, and Spain's net emigration balance was minus 89,000.

In 1987, according to the government's Institute on Emigration, more than 1.7 million Spanish citizens resided outside the country. About 947,000 lived in the Western Hemisphere, principally in Argentina (374,000), Brazil (118,000), Venezuela (144,000), and the United States (74,000). More than 750,000 Spanish citizens lived in other West European countries, primarily France (321,000), West Germany (154,000), and Switzerland (108,000). Aside from these two heavy concentrations, the only other significant Spanish populations abroad were in Morocco (10,000) and in Australia (22,500).

<>Ethnicity and Language

Updated population figures for Spain.




One of the clearest indicators of Spain's cultural diversity is language. Ethnic group boundaries do not coincide with administrative jurisdictions, so exact figures are impossible to confirm, but observers generally agreed that about one Spanish citizen in four spoke a mother tongue other than Castilian in the late 1980s. Nevertheless, Castilian Spanish was the dominant language throughout the country. Even in the homelands of the other Iberian languages, the native tongue was used primarily for informal communication, and Castilian continued to dominate in most formal settings.

Spain has, besides its Castilian ethnic core, three major peripheral ethnic groups with some claim to an historical existence preceding that of the Spanish state itself. In descending order of size, they are the Catalans, the Galicians, and the Basques. In descending order of the intensity of the pressure they brought to bear on Spanish society and politics in the late 1980s, the Basques came first, followed by the less intransigent and less violent Catalans, and, at a great distance, by the much more conservative and less volatile Galicians. In addition, heavily populated Andalusia had become the center of fragmenting regionalism in the south; and the Gypsies, although few in number, continuing to be a troublesome and depressed cultural minority.

<>Government Policies
<>The Catalans
<>The Galicians
<>The Basques
<>The Andalusians
<>The Gypsies

More about the <>Population of Spain.


Spain - ETHNICITY AND LANGUAGE - Government Policies


Franco's policies toward cultural, ethnic, and linguistic minorities were directed at the suppression of all non-Spanish diversity and at the unification, integration, and homogenization of the country. Until 1975 Spain's policy toward its ethnic minorities was more highly centralized and unifying than that of its neighbor, France, where a liberal democratic framework allowed private-sector initiatives to keep regional cultures and languages alive.

With the restoration of democracy, Spanish elites (many of whom come from one of the peripheral ethnic homelands, especially Catalonia) were much more tolerant of cultural, ethnic, and linguistic differences. Article 2 of the 1978 Constitution includes this wording: "The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible fatherland of all Spaniards, and it recognizes and guarantees the autonomy of the nationalities and regions that comprise it [the Spanish Nation], and the solidarity among them." It should be pointed out, however, that the word "autonomy" is never defined in the Constitution, leaving a serious ambiguity in Spain's treatment of its ethnic minorities. While requiring that Castilian be the official language throughout the country, the Constitution also recognizes the possibility that other languages may be "co-official" (an ambiguous term that is taken to mean "having co-equal status with Castilian for governmental purposes") in their respective autonomous communities. By 1988 five languages had been accorded such treatment: Catalan, Galician, Euskera (the Basque language), Valencian, and Majorcan.

From the vantage point of the state, the Basque, the Catalan, and the Galician peoples were "nationalities" within the larger and more inclusive Spanish nation. There was only one nation, and its capital was Madrid; ethnic minorities were prohibited from using the term "nation" in reference to themselves. For the Basque or the Catalan nationalist, however, there was no Spanish nation, only a Spanish state made up of a number of ethnic nations, of which theirs was one.

It should be noted that ethno-nationalist sentiment varied greatly within and among Spain's important ethnic minorities, throughout the years. In other words, not all Basques or Catalans felt themselves to be solely Basque or Catalan, and even those who did possessed varying levels of identification with, and commitment to, their ethnic homeland, depending upon the circumstances of the moment. For example, a 1979 study by Goldie Shabad and Richard Gunther revealed that, in the Basque provinces of Alava, Guipuzcoa, and Vizcaya, 28 percent of their respondents identified themselves as "Spanish only" or "more Spanish than Basque," 24 percent said they were "equally Spanish and Basque," 11 percent said they were "more Basque than Spanish," and 37 percent identified themselves as "solely Basque." In the Basque province of Navarre, in contrast, 26 percent said they were "Spanish only"; 52 percent, "Navarrese only"; and 15 percent, "Basque only." In Catalonia, the figures were as follows: "Spanish or more Spanish than Catalan," 38 percent; "equally Catalan and Spanish," 36 percent; "more Catalan than Spanish," 12 percent; and "Catalan only," 15 percent.

Such variation in ethnic identity was related to two factors: the migration of non-ethnics into the ethnic homelands from other parts of Spain, especially in the economic boom years of the 1950s and the 1960s; and the impact of industrialization, modernization, and urbanization on the usage of non-Castilian languages. After several decades of migration of non-ethnics into the Basque and Catalan regions, the native-born population represented between one-half and two-thirds of the total; and in many working-class neighborhoods and large cities, the nonethnics were actually in the majority. Whereas many migrants were able to learn Catalan because of its close similarity to Castilian Spanish, the number of migrants who learned the Basque language was insignificant because Euskera is not an Indo-European language. Moreover, the impact of mass media, urbanization, and other modernizing mass cultural influences gradually weakened the place of the non-Castilian languages. This was especially true in the Basque region, where non-Basque speakers found it pointless to learn a minority language that apparently had little utility in the modern world.

For these reasons, the Basque, the Catalan, and the Galician autonomous community governments placed the highest emphasis on policies to save their respective languages. In each of these regions, the local language was declared co-official along with Castilian Spanish; residents of the regions came to expect that they could communicate with their government in their native tongues when dealing with the courts and the police, and in a wide variety of other contexts in which citizens interacted directly with their state. Trials were conducted in both languages. The regional parliaments and governments, as well as most other institutions of government, were bilingual in theory if not in practice. Each government subsidized native-language schools through the high-school years and supported a television system that broadcasted largely, or, in the Basque case, entirely, in the native language. The Basque autonomous government placed great emphasis on recruiting a native police force made up of bilingual officers able to interact with the local population in the language of their choice.

At the end of the 1980s, it was still too early to assess whether or not such policies could salvage these minority languages. Catalan seemed assured of survival, even if as a subordinate language to Castilian, but Euskera and Galician were spoken by such a small portion of the modern, urbanized population that their fate would probably not be known for another generation. Under the best of circumstances, the representation of such complexity in Spanish society and politics will present a major challenge to the country's political elites and opinion leaders through the 1990s.


Spain - The Catalans


The four Spanish provinces in the northeast corner of the Iberian Peninsula constitute the principal homeland of the Catalans. The Catalan autonomous community covers about 6.5 percent of Spain's total peninsular land area. The region consists of the provinces of Barcelona, Gerona, Lerida, and Tarragona. Elsewhere in Spain, there were also significant Catalan-speaking populations in the Balearic Islands, along the east coast to the south of <"http://worldfacts.us/Spain-Valencia.htm">Valencia, and as far west as the eastern part of the Aragonese province of Huesca. Outside Spain, the principal Catalan populations were found in France, at the eastern end of the Pyrenees, and in Andorra.

The population of the Catalan region in 1986 was approximately 6.0 million, of which 4.6 million lived in densely populated Barcelona province. The other three provinces were more sparsely populated. As one of the richest areas of Spain and the first to industrialize, Catalonia attracted hundreds of thousands of migrants, primarily from Andalusia and other poor parts of the country. From 1900 to 1981, the net in-migration into Catalonia was about 2.4 million. In the 1980s, over half of Catalonia's working class, and the vast majority of its unskilled or semi-skilled workers, were cultural outsiders.

Catalan was one of five distinct Romance languages that emerged as the Islamic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula began to ebb. The others were Aragonese, Castilian, Leonese, and Galician. By the late Middle Ages, the kingdoms of Catalonia, Aragon, and Valencia had joined together in a federation, forging one of the most advanced constitutional systems of the time in Europe.

After the union of the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile in 1479, the Spanish crown maintained a loose administrative hold over its component realms. Although it occasionally tried to assert more centralized control, in the case of Catalonia its efforts generally resulted in failure. Nonetheless, attempts by Catalans in the seventeenth century to declare their independence were likewise unsuccessful. In the War of the Spanish Succession, Catalonia sided with the English against the Spanish crown, and the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 opened the way for the conquest of Catalonia by Spanish troops. In September 1714, after a long siege, Barcelona fell, and Catalonia's formal constitutional independence came to an end.

During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Catalonia experienced a dramatic resurgence as the focal point of Spain's industrial revolution. There were also a cultural renaissance and a renewed emphasis on the Catalan language as the key to Catalan cultural distinctiveness. Catalan nationalism was put forward by the nascent Catalan bourgeoisie as a solution that coupled political and cultural autonomy with economic integration in the Spanish market. For a brief period during the 1930s, the freedom of the Second Republic gave the Catalans a taste of political autonomy, but the door was shut for forty years by the Franco dictatorship.

There were, in principle, several different criteria that were used to determine who was, or was not, Catalan. One's place of birth, or the place of birth of one's parents, was often used by second-generation migrants to claim Catalan status, but relatively few whose families had been Catalan for generations agreed with these claims. Biological descent was seldom used among either natives or migrants, because Catalans, unlike Basques, did not usually define their ethnic identity in such terms. Sentimental allegiance to Catalonia was important in separating out from the category those native Catalans who no longer felt any identification with their homeland, but preferred to identify themselves as Spanish. Thus, the most significant and powerful indicator of Catalan identity, for both Catalans and migrants alike, was the ability to speak the Catalan language.

According to one estimate, the population (including those outside Spain) speaking Catalan or one of its variants (Valencian or Majorcan) numbered about 6.5 million in the late 1980s. Within the Catalan autonomous community, about 50 percent of the people spoke Catalan as a mother tongue, and another 30 percent could at least understand the language. In Valencia and the Balearic Islands, perhaps as many as 50 to 70 percent of the population spoke one of the variants of Catalan as a mother tongue, although a great majority used the language only in the home.


Spain - The Galicians


Galicians live in the four Spanish provinces located along the far northwest coast of the Iberian Peninsula, but their language zone shades into northern Portugal as well. The autonomous region of Galicia covers about 6 percent of the total peninsular territory of Spain. The four provinces that make up the region are La Coruna, Lugo, Orense, and Pontevedra. The total population of these provinces in 1981 was about 2.8 million. None of the provinces was densely populated. Unlike the Basque and the Catalan regions, which were rich, urbanized, and industrialized, Galicia remained relatively poor, agricultural and dominated by rural and village society, as industry had yet to make its appearance there on a large scale. Moreover, its agricultural sector continued to be among the most backward in Spain, and farm productivity was severely hampered by the tiny size of the individual plots, known as minifundios. The minifundio was the product of an attempt to distribute land parcels in a closed rural system to a growing population by requiring that equal shares be left to each heir. After just a few generations, the land had been subdivided so much that most of the parcels were too small to support a family or to be economically viable. For these reasons, Galicia was a net exporter of population to the rest of Spain. Between 1900 and 1981, the net outflow of people from Galicia was more than 825,000.

Galician nationalism, which appeared as early as the 1840s, recalled a mythical "Golden Age" when the medieval kingdom of Galicia had existed. There had indeed been a king of Galicia who was crowned in 1111; the kingdom was partitioned some years later, however, leaving the northern half hemmed in and isolated while the southern portion expanded southward in the wake of the Moors' withdrawal. This southern part of the realm eventually became Portugal; the northern part fell into disorder. Finally, in 1483 Castilian forces restored order in Galicia, and the kingdom of Castile incorporated the region into its realm. Castilian rule also brought on economic and cultural stagnation that lasted into the nineteenth century.

The emergence of Galician nationalism in the 1840s was principally a literary and cultural phenomenon; its economic and political strength had been sapped by the continuation of its traditional, rural, even anti-industrial social structure. The peasantry was conservative; the bourgeoisie was tiny and was largely non-Galician; the church opposed modernization. The Galician language survived principally as a rural vernacular, but it had no official standing. Despite Galicia's contemporary nationalist movement, which dates from 1931, and the activities of the region's autonomous government, in power since 1981, Galician nationalism continued to be almost silent in comparison with the louder demands of Basques and Catalans in the late 1980s. The use of Galician in political and official forums remained principally a strategy of parties on the left of the political spectrum; more conservative political figures continued to use Castilian either predominantly or exclusively.

About 60 percent of the population of the autonomous community can be identified as ethnic Galician, the great majority of whom retained some use of their language, the remainder retraining, at least in the home. According to one source, some 80 percent of the population could at least understand the language, although it remained primarily a language for the rural and village poor of Galicia and was not much heard in the larger cities. Another source argues that at least 80 percent could speak the language but probably only about 60 percent actually did so on a regular basis, the remainder refraining, at least partly, out of a sense of inferiority. In any case, only an insignificant percentage would be unable to understand the language, given its similarities to Castilian Spanish. Nevertheless, like Catalan, Galician seemed condemned to second-class status while Castilian continued to enjoy the role of the dominant language in official and formal contexts. Galician nationalists were sharply critical of what they termed the "so-called bilingualism policy," because they believed that Galician, unless it were given privileged status vis vis Castilian, would eventually be overwhelmed by the more popular and more dominant official language.


Spain - The Basques


The homeland of the Basques, known by Basque nationalists as Euzkadi, occupies the littoral of the Bay of Biscay as it curves north into France. The region extends inland some 150 kilometers, through the juncture of the Pyrenees and the Cordillera Cantabrica, and thence south to the Rio Ebro. The region covers nearly 21,000 square kilometers, of which about 3,000 lie on the French side of the international frontier. The 18,000 square kilometers on the Spanish side constitute about 3.6 percent of Spain's total land area.

About 3 million people lived in this area in the late 1980s. Approximately 300,000 people were on the French side of the border, while the remaining 2.7 million people were concentrated primarily in the two Spanish coastal provinces of Guipuzcoa and Vizcaya and, less densely, in the two inland provinces of #Alava and Navarre. This population lived under two distinct autonomous communities: Basque Country, which incorporated the three smaller provinces, and Navarre, which by itself constituted a "uniprovincial" regional government.

The Basques are among the oldest peoples of Europe. Despite their having been visited by numerous waves of invaders, the Basques reached the tenth century still fairly isolated from the flow of West European history. In the tenth and the eleventh centuries, the rising kingdom of Navarre absorbed most of the rest of the Basque peoples, and it created for the first time a more or less unified Basque political entity. With the kingdom's decline, however, the region fell into disorder, and by the sixteenth century, the Basque provinces had been integrated into the kingdom of Castile. From this time until the nineteenth century, relations between Castile and the Basque provinces were governed by the fueros, local privileges and exemptions by which the Spanish king recognized the special nature of the Basque provinces and even a number of Basque towns. As a result of the centralization of the Spanish state and the Carlist Wars, the fueros had been abolished by the end of the nineteenth century. The Second Republic in the 1930s offered the chance to create a new autonomous Basque regime, but all such efforts were doomed by the Spanish Civil War. After the war, the Franco dictatorship sought--unsuccessfully--to suppress all signs of Basque distinctiveness, especially the use of the language.

Through most of the twentieth century, the thriving Basque economy, centered on the steel and the shipbuilding industries of Vizcaya and the metal-processing shops in Guipuzcoa, attracted thousands of Spaniards who migrated there in search of jobs and a better way of life. Between 1900 and 1980, the number of people moving into the region exceeded those who left by nearly 450,000, the heaviest flow occurring during the decade of the 1960s. In the 1970s, the flow began to reverse itself because of political upheaval and economic decline. Between 1977 and 1984, the net outflow was nearly 51,000. The consequence of this heavy in-migration was a population in the late 1980s that was only marginally ethnic Basque and that in many urban areas was clearly non-Basque in both language and identity. One authoritative study found that only 52 percent of the population had been born in the Basque region of parents also born there, 11 percent had been born in the region of parents born elsewhere, and 35.5 percent had been born outside the region.

The Basque region has been for decades the arena for a clash between an encroaching modern culture and its values (speaking Spanish, identifying with Spain, working in industry, living in a large city) and a native, traditional culture and its values (speaking Euskera, identifying with one's village or province, working on a small farm or in the fishing sector, living on a farm or in a small village). The former population was found concentrated in the larger cities such as Bilbao, while the latter lived in the small fishing villages along the Bay of Biscay or in mountain farmsteads, called caserios, located in the mountains of Guipuzcoa, Vizcaya, and Navarre. These centers of Basque traditional culture have been in constant decline since the introduction of heavy industry to the region in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and they could well disappear by the end of the twentieth century.

The use of the Basque language has also been in steady decline for centuries, but the erosion has accelerated since the 1950s with the rise in non-Basque migration to the region. A 1984 language census confirmed what unofficial estimates had already observed: that Basque was a weakened minority language, although not yet moribund. Of the 2.1 million people in the Basque Country autonomous region, 23 percent could understand Euskera, 21 percent could speak it, but only 13 percent could read the language and only 10 percent could write it. These data indicate that the Basque language has survived principally as an oral language without much of a written tradition, and that it is conserved not by formal teaching in schools but by informal teaching in the home. Officials in the Basque Country launched a number of important programs, especially in television and education, to restore the language to a level of parity with Castilian Spanish, but the success of these efforts will not be confirmed for at least a generation. Officially, the objective was to make the Basque population bilingual in Spanish and in Basque; but that goal seemed quite remote in the late 1980s.


Spain - The Andalusians


The Andalusians cannot be considered an ethnically distinct people because they lack two of the most important markers of distinctiveness: an awareness of a common, distant mythological origin, and their own language. Nevertheless, it is clear that they do constitute a culturally distinct people, or region, that has become increasingly important in an industrial and democratic society.

The Andalusians live in Spain's eight southernmost provinces: Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, <"http://worldfacts.us/Spain-Malaga.htm">Malaga, and Seville. In 1986 their total population stood at 6.9 million. In general, it had grown more slowly than had the country's total population, and the region continued to be sparsely populated. Since 1960, the region's share of total population had declined, despite birth rates ranging from 20 to 25 per 1,000, about 40 percent higher than the Spanish average. The causes of the depopulation of the region can be found in the distinctive characteristics of its culture and economy: the large, poorly utilized estates and the agro-towns; rural poverty and landlessness; a rigid class structure and sharp class conflict; and emigration to Spain's industrial cities and to other parts of Europe. Most descriptions of Andalusia begin with the landownership system, for the most powerful forces in the region have for centuries been the owners of the large, economically backward estates, called latifundios. These wide expanses of land held by relatively few owners had their origins in landowning patterns that stretch back to Roman times; in grants of land made to the nobility, to the military orders, and to the church during the Reconquest (Reconquista); and in laws of the nineteenth century by which church and common lands were sold in large tracts to the urban middle class. The latifundio system is noted for two regressive characteristics: unproductive use of the land (agricultural production per capita in Andalusia was only 70 percent of that in Spain as a whole during the late 1980s) and unequal and absentee landownership patterns (1 percent of the agricultural population owned more than half of the land; the landed aristocracy made up no more than 0.3 percent of the population). The workers of this land, called jornaleros, were themselves landless; they did not even live on the land. Instead, they resided in what Spaniards refer to as pueblos, but with populations ranging as high as 30,000, these population centers were far too large to be considered "villages" or "towns." Anthropologists have coined the term "agro-towns" to describe such urban areas, because they served almost solely as a habitat for agricultural day-workers and had themselves declined in economic, cultural, and political significance.

This economic and cultural system produced a distinctive outlook, or perspective, that involved class consciousness and class conflicts as well as significant out-migration. In contrast to the much smaller farm towns and villages of northern Spain, where the land was worked by its owners, where parcels were of more nearly equal size, and where class differentiations were softened, class distinctions in the agro-towns of Andalusia stood out with glaring clarity. Devices used in other parts of rural Spain to diffuse class conflict, such as kinship and religious rituals, were of little value here. The families of the landless farmers lived at, or near, the poverty level, and their relations with the landed gentry were marked by conflict, aggression, and hostility. The two main forces that kept Andalusia's rural society from flying apart were external to the region. The first was the coercive power of the state, the political power emanating from Madrid, as exemplified by Spain's rural constabulary, the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil). The second was the safety valve offered by the opportunities to migrate to other parts of Spain, or to other countries in Western Europe. This freedom resulted in the remaining facet of Andalusian culture: the will to leave the region behind. Much of this migration was seasonal; in 1982, for example, 80,000 Spaniards, mostly Andalusians, migrated to France for the wine harvest. Much of the migration, however, consisted of entire families who intended to remain in their new home for long periods, or perhaps forever. This is why Andalusia during the 1960s lost some 14 percent of its population, perhaps the greatest European exodus in peacetime in this century.


Spain - The Gypsies


The term "Gypsies" is used by outsiders to label an ethnic group the members of which refer to themselves as Rom and speak a language known as Romany. No one knows exactly how many Gypsies there are, either in general or in Spain in particular. Estimates of the Spanish Gypsy population range as low as 50,000 and as high as 450,000, and other estimates place the world Gypsy population at between 3 and 6 million. Correct estimates are made difficult by the nomadic life-style followed by a portion of the group, by their cultural isolation, by the sense of mystery surrounding them and their origins, and by the division of the population into a number of distinctive subgroups.

It is generally accepted that Gypsies migrated out of India into Europe as early as the eleventh century. There are records of their having arrived in Spain as early as 1425 and in Barcelona, in particular, by 1447. At first they were well received and were even accorded official protection by many local authorities. In 1492, however, when official persecution began against Moors and Jews to cleanse the peninsula of non-Christian groups, the Gypsies were included in the list of peoples to be assimilated or driven out. For about 300 years, Gypsies were subject to a number of laws and policies designed to eliminate them from Spain as an identifiable group: Gypsy settlements were broken up and the residents dispersed; Gypsies were required to marry non-Gypsies; they were denied their language and rituals as well as well being excluded from public office and from guild membership. By the time this period had drawn to a close, Gypsies had been driven into a permanently submerged underclass from which they had not escaped in the late 1980s.

Spanish Gypsies are usually divided into two main groups: gitanos and hungaros (for Hungarians). The former, in turn, are divided into subgroups classified by both social class and cultural differences. In the late 1980s, the gitanos lived predominantly in southern and central Spain. Many of them took up a sedentary form of life, working as street vendors or entertainers. Although poor and largely illiterate, they were usually well integrated into Spanish society. The hungaros, however, are Kalderash, one of the divisions of the group from Central Europe (hence the name). They were much poorer than the gitanos and lived an entirely nomadic lifestyle, usually in tents or shacks around the larger cities. They made their living by begging or stealing, and they were much more of a problem for Spanish authorities. Many gitanos denied the hungaros the status of being in their same ethnic group, but outsiders tend to regard them all as basically Gypsies. In any case, whatever common ethnic consciousness they possessed was not sufficient to make them a significant political force.

Under Franco, Gypsies were persecuted and harassed, as indeed they were throughout the areas of Europe controlled by Nazi Germany. In the post-Franco era, however, Spanish government policy has been much more sympathetic toward them, especially in the area of social welfare and social services. Since 1983, for example, the government has operated a special program of compensatory education to promote educational rights for the disadvantaged, including those in Gypsy communities. The challenge will be to devise programs that bring the Gypsy population into the mainstream of the country's economic and political life without eroding the group's distinctive cultural and linguistic heritage.


Source: U.S. Library of Congress



Spain in the 1980s possessed a socioeconomic class structure typical of countries entering the advanced stage of industrialization. In general terms, society was becoming more differentiated along class, occupational, and professional lines, with an expanding middle class and a decreasing proportion of rural poor. Although Spain had not yet reached the degree of social differentiation seen in other advanced industrial democracies in Western Europe, it was clearly moving in the same direction. As in other areas, however, Spain was modernizing in a distinctly Iberian style, retaining some important social characteristics from an earlier era.

By the mid-1980s, the structure of Spain's economy had come increasingly to resemble that of most other West European countries, as evidenced by changes in the distribution of its work force. Throughout the twentieth century there was a steady decline in the proportion of workers employed in agriculture and other primary sectors (from 60.4 percent of the work force in 1900 to 14.4 percent in 1981); a gradual increase in the proportion employed in the services sector (from 15.1 percent to 40.4); and an increase in the proportion employed in industry and construction, until the 1970s when the percentage leveled off and even declined slightly (13.6 percent in 1900, to 37.4 percent in 1970, then 35.3 percent in 1981). (The residual percentages are accounted for by "other" and "unclassified" economic activities.) Changes were especially dramatic during the fifteen-year period from 1965 to 1980. According to a 1983 study, the Spanish work force consisted of 15 percent in agriculture, 33 percent in industry, 25 percent in non-information-related services, and 27 percent in the information sector (compared with 40 percent in the United States and 30 percent or more in West Germany, in France, and in Britain).

There were, however, worrisome signs that certain key sectors of the work force had not kept pace with the country's transition to advanced industrial status. In 1980 administrative and managerial workers, the key to guiding a complex industrial economy, constituted a tiny portion--only 1.3 percent--of Spain's work force, which put Spain on a par with Uruguay and Brazil. Professional and technical workers, the sector relied upon to provide basic and applied research for a country's industrial base, constituted only 5.9 percent of the work force, which placed Spain on about the same level as Mexico and the Philippines. In both cases, among West European nations, Spain was close to only Greece and Portugal. The rest of Western Europe was still far ahead in these crucial areas. Changes in Spain's economic structure have been reflected in class structure changes as well. By 1970 Spanish sociologist Amando de Miguel had reported that the country's occupation structure was dominated by a growing middle (including upper-middle) class of administrators, service personnel, and clerical workers. On the basis of the 1970 census, de Miguel found that fully 40 percent of Spain's working population was employed in the category of "nonmanual and service workers"; the country's industrial labor force, or blue collar-workers, constituted 35 percent of the work force; the rural workers (including employed farm workers, day workers, and farm owners) accounted for 25 percent (still high by West European standards). The occupational structure differed markedly among Spain's various regions. In the more industrial, urbanized north and northeast (the Basque Country and Catalonia), white-collar service and administrative workers made up about 45 percent of the work force; industrial blue collar workers, about 47 percent; and rural workers, about 8 percent. In the more traditional rural and agrarian south and west of the country (Andalusia and Extremadura), the relative percentages were 35 percent white-collar, 30 percent blue-collar, and 35 percent rural. A decade later, American political scientists Richard Gunther, Giacomo Sani, and Goldie Shabad studied the class implications of the 1979 Spanish elections and discovered, first, that the country's class structure had become more differentiated in the preceding decade, and second, that the upper and middle classes had grown in size, while the urban and rural working classes had contracted. Gunther and his associates found that 12.6 percent of their respondents classified themselves in the highest status group (entrepreneurs, professionals, large landowners, etc.), an increase from 5.2 percent in the de Miguel study. Another 36.3 percent could be classified as upper-middle class (these in technical professions, small businessmen, mid-level public and private employees), up from 15.4 percent in 1970; and 16.3 percent fell within the lower-middle class category (sales and supervisory personnel and small farmers), down from 21.8 percent a decade earlier. Thus, the number included in the general category of middle class rose from about one-third of the work force to about one-half in a decade. As a percentage of the total, blue-collar workers and rural farm workers fell from about 60 percent in 1970 to only 33.3 percent in Gunther's 1979 study.

Later studies, using less precisely differentiated categories, found that many Spaniards continued to classify themselves as working class people regardless of the color of their collar. In one 1979 study, done by American political scientists Peter McDonough and Samuel Barnes and their Spanish colleague Antonio Lopez Pina, 48 percent of their respondents classified themselves as "working class"; 36 percent, as "low-middle"; and 16 percent, as "middle-high." In a 1984 study, these same three researchers reported that self-classified working-class respondents were 55.9 percent of the sample, middle class people were 33 percent, and upper-class subject were 11.1 percent. Allowing for a considerable degree of overlap and ambiguity in answers across surveys, particularly in aggregating the responses for working class and lower-middle class into a single statistic, it still seems clear that Spanish society had become more middle class and less poor over the decade and a half between 1970 and 1985.

Data on class structure from 1984 have been analyzed in a study by Spanish sociologists Salustiano del Campo and Manuel Navarro, who divided the Spanish work force into two broad groups: salaried employees, constituting approximately 68 percent of the work force, and owners, managers and professionals, making up about 31 percent. The first group was further divided into nonmanual and service workers, who accounted for about 34 percent of the work force, and blue-collar workers, who also constituted approximately 34 percent. The second group had the categories of capitalist business class, with about 5 percent of the work force, and the liberal professional class (e.g., attorneys), and self-employed small business owners, merchants and small farmers, who accounted for approximately 27 percent.

Although Spaniards experienced many of the same social and class cleavages that occurred in other advanced industrial societies, they retained a distinctive commitment to greater income equality, an egalitarian value that stands out in comparison with their wealthier and more industrialized neighbors. In a 1985 study, McDonough, Barnes, and Lopez Pina asked their respondents, "Do you think there should be a great deal of difference, some difference, or almost no difference in how much people in different occupations earn?" The proportions of respondents answering "a great difference" were 3 percent from the working class, 4 percent from the middle class, and 7 percent from the upper class, compared with 26 percent, 32 percent and 49 percent from comparable classes in the United States. Thus, McDonough and his colleagues call our attention to "the salient fact [of] the high level of egalitarian/populist expectations in Spain. The pattern is understandable in light of the poverty which for many Spaniards is not a vicarious memory and in view, as well, of the paternalistic legacy of Latin Catholicism. On the one hand, then, economic and social issues are probably not as conflict-ridden as caricatures of Spanish politics imply-- relative to the symbolic-moral issues, for example. On the other hand, the public seems to entertain high expectations about the benefits and social equity to be delivered by the government."

According to data from 1980 and 1981, Spain's household income was distributed in the following pattern: the poorest quintile of the population received 6.9 percent; the second poorest, 12.5; the middle quintile, 17.3; the fourth quintile, 23.2; the richest quintile, 40.0; and the richest decile, 24.5. The ratio between the richest and the poorest quintiles was 5.8:1, a fairly equitable distribution pattern compared with other advanced industrial West European democracies. The Spanish pattern of income distribution did not differ dramatically from that of advanced welfare states like Sweden or Denmark. The crucial difference was, of course, that in those countries there was much more income to distribute. Outside Spain's urban areas, in the small and mid-sized towns where more than a quarter of the country's population still lived, there were two distinctive models of class structure and conflict. In the small villages of Castile and the north, where land was more evenly distributed, and where the land was worked by its owners, social cleavages were much less acute, and class conflict was much less strident. There, the sense of community was reinforced by the still-powerful forces of kinship and religion. Moreover, modernization, principally by raising the salaries of laborers and by diminishing the gap in material possessions between rich and poor, had erased the few class or status differences that had existed previously. As the ownership of automobiles, refrigerators, and television sets spread to practically the entire population, upper-class status became largely meaningless in these small villages.

In the larger agro-towns of the south, however, a totally different picture was found. In Andalusia, land was distributed in a highly unequal way and the land was worked principally by day laborers who owned no land and who seldom even lived on it. In these towns, class structure was very sharply delineated and class conflict was aggressive and often violent. Traditional values of kinship and religion failed to diffuse these conflicts, and the towns and villages were held together by what anthropologist David Gilmore calls the "coercive integration" imposed by external forces, primarily the government in Madrid.




After the restoration of democracy, the changes in everyday Spanish life were as radical as the political transformation. These changes were even more striking when contrasted with the values and social practices that had prevailed in Spanish society during the Franco years, especially during the 1940s and the early 1950s. In essence, Spanish social values and attitudes were modernized at the same pace, and to the same degree, as the country's class structure, economic institutions, and political framework.

To say that Spanish social values under Franco were conservative would be a great understatement. Both public laws and church regulations enforced a set of social strictures aimed at preserving the traditional role of the family, distant and formal relations between the sexes, and controls over expression in the press, film, and the mass media, as well as over many other important social institutions. By the 1960s, however, social values were changing faster than the law, inevitably creating tension between legal codes and reality. Even the church had begun to move away from its more conservative positions by the latter part of the decade. The government responded haltingly to these changes with some new cabinet appointments and with somewhat softer restrictions on the media. Yet underneath these superficial changes, Spanish society was experiencing wrenching changes as its people came increasingly into contact with the outside world. To some extent, these changes were due to the rural exodus that had uprooted hundreds of thousands of Spaniards and had brought them into new urban social settings. In the 1960s and the early 1970s, however, two other contacts were also important: the flow of European tourists to "sunny Spain" and the migration of Spain's workers to jobs in France, Switzerland, and West Germany.

One of the most powerful influences on Spanish social values has been the country's famous "industry without smokestacks"-- <>tourism. In the years before the Civil War, tourists numbered only about one quarter of a million, and it took more than a decade after World War II for them to discover Spain's climate and low prices. When they finally did, the trickle of tourists became a flood. The leading countries sending tourists to Spain were France, Portugal, Britain, and West Germany. Of course tourists brought much more than British pounds or German deutsche marks; they also brought the democratic political and social values of northern Europe.

The other population flow that affected Spanish cultural values involved Spanish workers who returned from having worked in the more industrialized and more liberal countries of Western Europe. The exact number of returning migrants fluctuated greatly from year to year, depending on economic conditions in Spain and in the rest of Europe. The peak period was 1965 to 1969, when more than 550,000 returned; but nearly 750,000 returned during the decade of the 1970s. The return flow ebbed somewhat during the 1980s, when only about 20,000 came back per year. The principal problems encountered by these returning Spaniards were both economic (finding another job) and cultural (what the Spanish refer to as "social reinsertion," or becoming accustomed again to the Spanish ways of doing things). Many of the returnees came back with a small sum of money that they invested in a small business or shop, from which they hoped to advance up the economic ladder. Above all, they brought back with them the cultural habits and tastes of France, West Germany, and Switzerland, contributing thereby to the cultural transformation of post-Franco Spain.

Outsiders who still thought of Spain as socially restrained and conservative were surprised to note the public changes in sexual attitudes in the country since the late 1970s. Once state censorship was relaxed on magazines and films in 1976 and in 1978, the market for pornography flourished. In a country where Playboy was outlawed until 1976, ten years later this and other foreign "adult" magazines were already considered tame and were outsold by domestic magazines. Throughout Spain's large cities, uncensored sex films were readily available in government-licensed theaters, and prostitutes and brothels freely advertised their services in even the most serious press. Despite these attention-getting changes in public attitudes, however, Spanish government policy for some years remained quite distant from social practice in two important areas related to private sexual behavior, contraception and abortion.

During the Franco years, the ban on the sale of contraceptives was complete, at least in theory, even though the introduction of the pill had brought artificial contraception to at least half a million Spanish women by 1975. The ban on the sale of contraceptives was lifted in 1978, but no steps were taken to ensure that they were used safely or effectively. Schools offered no sex education courses, and family planning centers existed only where local authorities were willing to pay for them. The consequence of a loosening of sexual restraints, combined with a high level of ignorance about the technology that could be substituted in their place, was a rise in the number of unwanted pregnancies, which led to the second policy problem--abortion.

Illegal abortions were fairly commonplace in Spain even under the dictatorship. A 1974 government report estimated that there were about 300,000 such abortions each year. Subsequently, the number rose to about 350,000 annually, which gave Spain one of the highest ratios of abortions to live births among advanced industrial countries. Abortion continued to be illegal in Spain until 1985, three years after the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol--PSOE) came to power on an electoral platform that promised a change. Even so, the law legalized abortions only in certain cases: pregnancy resulting from rape, which must be reported to the authorities prior to the abortion; reasonable probability of a malformed fetus, attested to by two doctors; or to save the mother's life, again in the opinion of two physicians. In the 1980s, this was as far as public opinion would permit the state to go; surveys showed that a clear majority of the electorate remained opposed to abortion on demand.

Perhaps the most significant change in Spanish social values, however, involved the role of women in society, which, in turn, was related to the nature of the family. Spanish society, for centuries, had embraced a code of moral values that established stringent standards of sexual conduct for women (but not for men); restricted the opportunities for professional careers for women, but honored their role as wives and (most important) mothers; and prohibited divorce, contraception, and abortion, but permitted prostitution. After the return of democracy, the change in the status of women was dramatic. One significant indicator was the changing place of women in the work force. In the traditional Spanish world, women rarely entered the job market. By the late 1970s, however, 22 percent of the country's adult women, still somewhat fewer than in Italy and in Ireland, had entered the work force. By 1984 this figure had increased to 33 percent, a level not significantly different from Italy or the Netherlands. Women still made up less than one-third of the total labor force, however, and in some important sectors, such as banking, the figure was closer to one-tenth. A 1977 opinion poll revealed that when asked whether a woman's place was in the home only 22 percent of young people in Spain agreed, compared with 26 percent in Britain, 30 percent in Italy, and 37 percent in France. The principal barrier to women in the work place, however, was not public opinion, but rather such factors as a high unemployment rate and a lack of part-time jobs. In education, women were rapidly achieving parity with men, at least statistically. In 1983, approximately 46 percent of Spain's university enrollment was female, the thirty-first highest percentage in the world, and comparable to most other European countries.

During Franco's years, Spanish law discriminated strongly against married women. Without her husband's approval, referred to as the permiso marital, a wife was prohibited from almost all economic activities, including employment, ownership of property, or even travel away from home. The law also provided for less stringent definitions of such crimes as adultery and desertion for husbands than it did for wives. Significant reforms of this system were begun shortly before Franco's death, and they have continued at a rapid pace since then. The permiso marital was abolished in 1975; laws against adultery were cancelled in 1978; and divorce was legalized in 1981. During the same year, the parts of the civil code that dealt with family finances were also reformed.

During the Franco years, marriages had to be canonical (that is, performed under Roman Catholic law and regulations) if even one of the partners was Catholic, which meant effectively that all marriages in Spain had to be sanctioned by the church. Since the church prohibited divorce, a marriage could be dissolved only through the arduous procedure of annulment, which was available only after a lengthy series of administrative steps and was thus accessible only to the relatively wealthy. These restrictions were probably one of the major reasons for a 1975 survey result showing that 71 percent of Spaniards favored legalizing divorce; however, because the government remained in the hands of conservatives until 1982, progress toward a divorce law was slow and full of conflict. In the summer of 1981, the Congress of Deputies (lower chamber of the Cortes, or Spanish Parliament) finally approved a divorce law with the votes of about thirty Union of the Democratic Center (Union de Centro Democratico--UCD) deputies who defied the instructions of party conservatives. As a consequence, Spain had a divorce law that permitted the termination of a marriage in as little as two years following the legal separation of the partners. Still, it would be an exaggeration to say that the new divorce law opened a floodgate for the termination of marriages. Between the time the law went into effect at the beginning of September 1981, and the end of 1984, only slightly more than 69,000 couples had availed themselves of the option of ending their marriages, and the number declined in both 1983 and 1984. There were already more divorced people than this in Spain in 1981 before the law took effect.

Despite these important gains, observers expected that the gaining of equal rights for women would be a lengthy struggle, waged on many different fronts. It was not until deciding a 1987 case, for example, that Spain's Supreme Court held that a rape victim need not prove that she had fought to defend herself in order to verify the truth of her allegation. Until that important court case, it was generally accepted that a female rape victim, unlike the victims of other crimes, had to show that she had put up "heroic resistance" in order to prove that she had not enticed the rapist or otherwise encouraged him to attack her.

Another important sign of cultural change involved the size and the composition of the family. To begin with, the marriage rate (the number of marriages in proportion to the adult population) has declined steadily since the mid-1970s. After holding steady at 7 per 1,000 or more for over 100 years, the marriage rate declined to about 5 per 1,000 in 1982, a level observed in West Germany and in Italy only a few years earlier. Fewer people were marrying in Spain, and the family structure was changing dramatically as well. In 1970, of the 8.8 million households recorded in the census, 59 percent consisted of small nuclear families of two to five persons, 15 percent were somewhat larger nuclear families that included other relatives as well as guests, and 10.6 percent were households of unrelated individuals who had no nuclear family. Large families of more than three children were only 9 percent of the total. In a 1975 municipal survey that dealt only with families, the following results were registered: couples without children constituted 16 percent of all families; and two-children families made up 34 percent of the total. Although the number of family units increased more than 20 percent between 1970 and 1981, the average size of the family decreased by about 10 percent, from 3.8 persons to 3.5. The typical extended family of traditional societies (three generations of related persons living in the same household) hardly appeared at all in the census data. Clearly, that characteristic of Spanish cultural values was a thing of the past.




Spain, it has been observed, is a nation-state born out of religious struggle between Catholicism and, in turn, Islam, Judaism, and Protestantism. After centuries of the Reconquest, in which Christian Spaniards fought to drive Muslims from Europe, the Inquisition sought to complete the religious purification of the Iberian Peninsula by driving out Jews, Protestants, and other nonbelievers. The Inquisition was finally abolished only in the 1830s, and even after that religious freedom was denied in practice, if not in theory. Catholicism became the state religion in 1851, when the Spanish government signed a Concordat with the Vatican that committed Madrid to pay the salaries of the clergy and to subsidize other expenses of the Roman Catholic Church. This pact was renounced in 1931, when the secular constitution of the Second Republic imposed a series of anticlerical measures that threatened the church's very existence in Spain and provoked its support for the Franco uprising five years later.

The advent of the Franco regime saw the restoration of the church's privileges. During the Franco years, Roman Catholicism was the only religion to have legal status; other worship services could not be advertised, and only the Roman Catholic Church could own property or publish books. The government not only continued to pay priests' salaries and to subsidize the church, but it also assisted in the reconstruction of church buildings damaged by the war. Laws were passed abolishing divorce and banning the sale of contraceptives. Catholic religious instruction was mandatory, even in public schools. Franco secured in return the right to name Roman Catholic bishops in Spain, as well as veto power over appointments of clergy down to the parish priest level. In 1953 this close cooperation was formalized in a new Concordat with the Vatican that granted the church an extraordinary set of privileges: mandatory canonical marriages for all Catholics; exemption from government taxation; subsidies for new building construction; censorship of materials the church deemed offensive; the right to establish universities, to operate radio stations, and to publish newspapers and magazines; protection from police intrusion into church properties; and exemption of clergy from military service.

The proclamation of the Second Vatican Council in favor of the separation of church and state in 1965 forced the reassessment of this special relationship. In the late 1960s, the Vatican attempted to reform the church in Spain by appointing liberals as interim, or acting, bishops, thereby circumventing Franco's stranglehold on the country's clergy. In 1966 the Franco regime passed a law that freed other religions from many of the earlier restrictions, although it also reaffirmed the privileges of the Catholic Church. Any attempt to revise the 1953 Concordat met the dictator's rigid resistance.

In 1976, however, King Juan Carlos de Borbon unilaterally renounced the right to name the bishops; later that same year Madrid and the Vatican signed a new accord that restored to the church its right to name bishops, and the church agreed to a revised Concordat that entailed a gradual financial separation of church and state. Church property not used for religious purposes was henceforth to be subject to taxation, and gradually, over a period of years, the church's reliance on state subsidies was to be reduced. The timetable for this reduction was not adhered to, however, and the church continued to receive the public subsidy through 1987 (US$110 million in that year alone). Indeed, by the end of 1987 issues such as financing and education had not been definitively resolved, and the revised Concordat still had not been agreed to in final form, even though the 1953 Concordat had expired in 1980.

It took the new 1978 Constitution to confirm the right of Spaniards to religious freedom and to begin the process of disestablishing Catholicism as the state religion. The drafters of the Constitution tried to deal with the intense controversy surrounding state support of the church, but they were not entirely successful. The initial draft of the Constitution did not even mention the church, which was included almost as an afterthought and only after intense pressure from the church's leadership. Article 16 disestablishes Roman Catholicism as the official religion and provides that religious liberty for non-Catholics is a state-protected legal right, thereby replacing the policy of limited toleration of non-Catholic religious practices. The article further states, however, that "The public authorities shall take the religious beliefs of Spanish society into account and shall maintain the consequent relations of cooperation with the Catholic Church and the other confessions." In addition, Article 27 also aroused controversy by appearing to pledge continuing government subsidies for private, church-affiliated schools. These schools were sharply criticized by Spanish Socialists for having created and perpetuated a class-based, separate, and unequal school system. The Constitution, however, includes no affirmation that the majority of Spaniards are Catholics or that the state should take into account the teachings of Catholicism.

Government financial aid to the church was a difficult and contentious issue. The church argued that, in return for the subsidy, the state had received the social, health, and educational services of tens of thousands of priests and nuns who fulfilled vital functions that the state itself could not have performed. Nevertheless, the revised Concordat was supposed to replace direct state aid to the church with a scheme that would allow taxpayers to designate a certain portion of their taxes to be diverted directly to the church. Through 1985, taxpayers were allowed to deduct up to 10 percent from their taxable income for donations to the Catholic Church. Partly because of the protests against this arrangement from representatives of Spain's other religious groups, the tax laws were changed in 1987 so that taxpayers could choose between giving 0.52 percent of their income tax to the church and allocating it to the government's welfare and culture budgets. For three years, the government would continue to give the church a gradually reduced subsidy, but after that the church would have to subsist on its own resources. The government would continue, however, its program of subsidizing Catholic schools, which in 1987 cost the Spanish taxpayers about US$300 million, exclusive of the salaries of teachers, which were paid directly by the Ministry of Education and Science.

Anyone visiting Spain must be constantly aware of the church's physical presence in buildings, museums, and religious celebrations. In a population of about 39 million, the number of non-Catholics was probably no more than 300,000. About 250,000 of these were of other Christian faiths, including several Protestant denominations, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormons. The number of Jews in Spain was estimated at about 13,000. More than 19 out of every 20 Spaniards were baptized Catholics; about 60 percent of them attended Mass; about 30 percent of the baptized Catholics did so regularly, although this figure declined to about 20 percent in the larger cities. As of 1979, about 97 percent of all marriages were performed according to the Catholic religion. A 1982 report by the church claimed that 83 percent of all children born the preceding year had been baptized in the church.

Nevertheless, there were forces at work bringing about fundamental changes in the place of the church in society. One such force was the improvement in the economic fortunes of the great majority of Spaniards, making society more materialistic and less religious. Another force was the massive shift in population from farm and village to the growing urban centers, where the church had less influence over the values of its members. These changes were transforming the way Spaniards defined their religious identity.

Being a Catholic in Spain had less and less to do with regular attendance at Mass and more to do with the routine observance of important rituals such as baptism, marriage, and burial of the dead. A 1980 survey revealed that, although 82 percent of Spaniards were believers in Catholicism, very few considered themselves to be very good practitioners of the faith. In the case of the youth of the country, even smaller percentages believed themselves to be "very good" or "practicing" Catholics.

In contrast to an earlier era, when rejection of the church went along with education, in the late 1980s studies showed that the more educated a person was, the more likely he or she was to be a practicing Catholic. This new acceptance of the church was due partly to the church's new self-restraint in politics. In a significant change from the pre-Civil War era, the church had accepted the need for the separation of religion and the state, and it had even discouraged the creation of a Christian Democratic party in the country.

The traditional links between the political right and the church no longer dictated political preferences; in the 1982 general election, more than half of the country's practicing Catholics voted for the PSOE. Although the Socialist leadership professed agnosticism, according to surveys between 40 and 45 percent of the party's rank-and-file members held religious beliefs, and more than 70 percent of these professed to be Catholics. Among those entering the party after Franco's death, about half considered themselves Catholic.

One important indicator of the changes taking place in the role of the church was the reduction in the number of Spaniards in Holy Orders. In 1984 the country had more than 22,000 parish priests, nearly 10,000 ordained monks, and nearly 75,000 nuns. These numbers concealed a troubling reality, however. More than 70 percent of the diocesan clergy was between the ages of 35 and 65; the average age of the clergy in 1982 was 49 years. At the upper end of the age range, the low numbers reflected the impact of the Civil War, in which more than 4,000 parish priests died. At the lower end, the scarcity of younger priests reflected the general crisis in vocations throughout the world, which began to be felt in the 1960s. Its effects were felt especially acutely in Spain. The crisis was seen in the decline in the number of young men joining the priesthood and in the increase in the number of priests leaving Holy Orders. The number of seminarists in Spain fell from more than 9,000 in the 1950s to only 1,500 in 1979, even though it rose slightly in 1982 to about 1,700.

Changes in the social meaning of religious vocations were perhaps part of the problem; having a priest in the family no longer seemed to spark the kind of pride that family members would have felt in the past. The principal reason in most cases, though, was the church's continued ban on marriage for priests. Previously, the crisis was not particularly serious because of the age distribution of the clergy. As the twentieth century nears an end, however, a serious imbalance will appear between those entering the priesthood and those leaving it. The effects of this crisis were already visible in the decline in the number of parish priests in Spain--from 23,620 in 1979 to just over 22,000 by 1983.

Another sign of the church's declining role in Spanish life was the diminishing importance of the controversial secular religious institute, Opus Dei (Work of God). Opus Dei was a worldwide lay religious body that did not adhere to any particular political philosophy and was allegedly nonpolitical. The organization was founded in 1928 by a Spanish priest, Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer y Albas, as a reaction to the increasing secularization of Spain's universities, and higher education continued to be one of the institute's foremost priorities. Despite its public commitment to a nonpolitical stance, Opus Dei members rose to occupy key positions in the Franco regime, especially in the field of economic policy-making in the late 1950s and the early 1960s. Opus Dei members dominated the group of liberal technocrats who engineered the opening of Spain's autarchic economy after 1957. After the 1973 assassination of Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco (often rumored to be an Opus Dei member), however, the influence of the institute declined sharply. The secrecy of the order and its activities and the power of its myth helped it maintain its strong position of influence in Spain; but there was little doubt that, compared with the 1950s and the 1960s, Opus Dei had fallen from being one of the country's chief political organizations to being simply one among many such groups competing for power in an open and pluralist society.

In the late 1980s, however, the church showed signs of becoming more conservative than liberal. After years of being the minority in the church hierarchy, conservative Catholic leaders had reasserted their power and influence, and they were beginning to wrest power from the liberals. One telling indicator of the return of conservatives to control within the church was the battle in late 1987 over the editorial policy of the leading Spanish Catholic weekly magazine, Vida Nueva, which ended with the liberal editor's being forced out of office and his being replaced with a conservative.




In the 1980s, Spain spent about 8 percent of its national budget on education. In 1983 education expenditures amounted to only about US$120 per capita, which placed Spain forty-fifth in the world in per capita spending on education, far behind most other countries in Western Europe. In the government's 1988 budget, expenditures on education were scheduled to increase by 18 to 20 percent over 1987, to about US$170 per person. Nevertheless, rapid increases in other areas meant that spending on education declined as a proportion of the total budget, to about 6.7 percent. This level of expenditure was not only too little in an advanced industrial society, but it was also distributed in a way that was skewed toward the expensive private-sector schools.

In the 1970s, the Ministry of Education and Science began to confront the paradox that, although the General Law on Education (Ley General de Educacion--LGE) made primary education free and obligatory, the reality was that the state could not build schools or hire teachers fast enough to keep up with the demand. The consequence was a widening gap between the rising student population and the number of places available for them. The solution lay in the short run in state subsidies to private schools that enabled them to offer basic primary education free or for a reduced fee. Thus, although the government could claim that by 1977 there were enough places in school to go around, in some major cities, such as Madrid, more than half were provided by private schools.

By the early 1980s, about 40 percent of all schools were private. Of these, just over half were run by the Roman Catholic Church and enrolled some 1.2 million pupils in primary schools and 230,000 in secondary schools. The remainder of the private schools were operated as profit-making enterprises by secular owners. The religious schools often were highly regarded, and the instruction they offered probably was superior to that provided by the state-run institutions. The other private sector schools varied greatly in quality. Although a few were excellent, many others were seriously underfunded and poorly staffed, so that private secular education was not automatically associated with elite education as was the case in some other West European countries.

Between 1977 and 1982, the government's annual subsidy to private education nearly tripled. As a result, by the time the center-right coalition UCD government left office in late 1982, most primary schools were free. Unfortunately, this policy had to be paid for by drawing on funds available for state schools, with a consequent loss of teachers and instructional quality in the public system.

The Socialist government that came to power in 1982 sought to soften the conflict between private (largely Catholic) schools and public schools by integrating the private schools into the country's overall education system. To accomplish this goal, in 1984 the government passed the Organic Law on the Right to Education (Ley Organica del Derecho a la Educacion--LODE), which established three categories of schools. Free public schools were accountable to either the Ministry of Education and Science or to the governments of the autonomous communities. Instruction was subject to the principles of the Constitution, in that it had to be ideologically neutral and it had to respect diverse religious beliefs. The second category, private schools, usually secular, could be organized by any person or group as long as constitutional limits were observed. These schools were to receive no state assistance so that all costs were borne by the students' families. The third category, mixed schools, usually religious, were financed by the state. Nevertheless, the director and the faculty were chosen by a school council, or consejo escolar (pl., consejos escolares), made up of representatives of the school's diverse constituencies, including parents and faculty. Although the state did not try to control this subsidized sector, the consejos were a clear signal that it intended increased democratization in this all important realm of society. In all three models, students enjoyed the right not to receive instruction that violated their religious beliefs.

As a result of these educational reforms, during the two decades after 1965 Spain had made great strides, enrolling essentially the entire population in the age group of the primary grades and reducing the country's illiteracy to a nominal 3 to 6 percent. The really impressive gains, however, were in the secondary grades and in higher education, especially for women. In 1965 only 38 percent of Spain's youth were enrolled in secondary schools, one of the lowest percentages in Western Europe and only about 60 percent of the average of all advanced industrial countries. Only 29 percent of the country's females, less than half the industrial countries' average, were enrolled in the secondary grades. By 1985, an estimated 89 percent of all students and 91 percent of females were attending secondary schools. These figures conformed to the average of the industrial democracies, and were noticeably higher than those in Italy, Britain, or Sweden. At the university level, enrollment more than quadrupled in percentage terms, from 6 percent in 1965 to 26 percent in 1985, a level about 30 percent lower than the industrial countries' average, but still higher than that of Britain or Switzerland. In 1980 women constituted 40 percent of university enrollment (48 percent in 1984), a level only four to six percentage points behind France, Belgium, and Italy.

Nevertheless, in terms of the school-age population per teacher, Spain still ranked forty-seventh in the world, and in terms of the percentage of school-age population in school, it ranked twenty-second. In this area, demographics were working in favor of Spain's educational planners, however. Spain's "baby boom" lasted about a decade longer--until the mid-1970s--than similar phenomena did in the rest of Europe, but after 1977 the birth rate fell at a faster rate than it did in any other country in Western Europe. As a result, planners expected that the school population pressures of the 1960s and the 1970s would soon abate, giving the country's educational system some much-needed breathing space.

The minister of education and science through most of the 1980s, Jose Maria Maravall Herrero, has written that the country's educational system must fulfill four important functions: to promote the cohesion of the nation (i.e., cultural integration); to contribute to the integration of society (i.e., social integration); to foster equality of opportunity (i.e., economic integration); and to socialize citizens to hold democratic values (i.e., political integration). Spanish political elites recognized that, despite the remarkable political and economic transformation of their country, they were still presiding over a society split by cultural, social, economic, and political differences that had endured for generations. The country's educational system did little to overcome these divisions until the restoration of democracy; since then, education has become one of the principal instruments in national integration.

<>Primary and Secondary Education
<>Higher Education


Spain - Primary and Secondary Education


From 1970 until 1984, Spain's education system was based entirely on the LGE, often referred to as the Villar Palasi Law after the minister of education and science at the time, Jose Luis Villar Palasi. This law was the Franco government's attempt to modernize Spain's public education system. Although it has been added to, and modified by, the LODE since the return of democracy, the structure it established was still nearly completely intact in the late 1980s. The law provided that primary education (Educacion General Basica--EGB) would be free and compulsory from the ages of six to fourteen. In the 1986-87 school year, there were about 185,000 primary institutions that provided instruction to about 6.6 million students, 70 percent of whom were in state schools. Secondary education (Bachillerato Unificado Polivalente--BUP) lasted from age fourteen to sixteen and terminated in the state graduation examination, the bachillerato. Those who completed the bachillerato could then enroll in an additional one-year program (Curso de Orientacion Universitaria--COU) to prepare themselves for the university entrance exams. In the 1986-87 school year, more than 2,600 secondary schools enrolled about 1.2 million students. Studies at all institutions were organized around an academic year that ran from about mid-September to the middle or latter part of June.

Secondary school attendance was optional, but if students did not go on to secondary school, they had to enroll in vocational training for the period when they were fifteen to sixteen years of age. Students in the vocational program (Formacion Professional--FP) generally completed their studies with an equivalent exam, the labor bachillerato. In the 1986-87 school year, about 2,200 vocational centers provided instruction to more than 700,000 students. The FP was divided into two two-year phases. The first, which was obligatory for everyone who did not enter the BUP, provided a general introduction to applied vocations, such as clerical work or electronics, while the second phase offered more specialized vocational training. Special education for the physically and the mentally impaired was provided in schools run by both state and private organizations. Perhaps sensing that this model of education imposed a choice between academic and vocational studies on children at too young an age, the government began to experiment in the 1980s with an alternate model that kept students on a single, unified track until the age of sixteen. An equally troublesome aspect of the system, however, was the irreversibility of the choice between BUP and FP. Once a student had chosen the FP program, it was impossible to go on to the university, so many youngsters chose the BUP even if, at the time, they were more suited for vocational training or were better able to use the more practical skills taught in the FP. This dimension of the educational system, plus the traditional disdain of many Spaniards toward manual labor, caused the BUP to enroll nearly twice as many students as the FP. Observers believed, however, that if the economic cramp of the 1980s continued to shrink the job market, the balance might shift toward the FP because the acquisition of a marketable skill might look more important than the gaining of academic qualifications. Indeed, between the 1979-80 and 1986-87 academic years, enrollment in the vocational programs increased nearly 35 percent (from 515,000 to 695,000), while enrollment in the academic program grew by only about 8 percent (from 1.055 million to 1.142 million).

Another major problem with Spanish education was the continued high failure rate. The standards set for graduation from the EGB were not especially demanding, yet between one-fifth and one-third of all students failed to complete the course of study. Failure rates ran much higher in state schools than in private institutions. Critics blamed principally the poor quality of instruction and thus, indirectly, teacher training. In 1981 the government published a revised EGB curriculum that set forth goals for both teachers and students. This revised curriculum was not adopted easily or without resistance, and there were those who argued that it was too rigid and centralized and that it placed too much emphasis on rote memory.

The uneven spread of nursery schools contributed to the high failure rate in later years. In the 1960s and the 1970s, pre-school education began to gain in popularity to such an extent that, in the mid-1980s, some 80 percent of Spain's children between the ages of four and six went to nursery schools (1.3 million in 1986-87). Many primary teachers thus assumed that their students had completed a year or two of pre-school education. About one-third of the 39,000 nursery schools in operation in the 1986-87 school year were still in the private sector, however, and the public nurseries were little more than day care centers. The effect was to create a disadvantaged student population right from the beginning--one that was likely to persist for many years and to continue to contribute to the high failure rate within the system. The solution--universal, public-supported pre-schools--was not a likely prospect as of the late 1980s.

Another source of deficiencies in the public educational system was the low pay teachers received. Even though teachers' salaries were raised by more than 40 percent between 1983 and 1985, in 1988 the average salary for teachers in the public schools at both the elementary and the secondary levels was still only about US$15,000 per year. In 1988 more than 200,000 teachers went out on strike to gain a 14 percent pay increase that would have raised their monthly salary by about US$175. The government put down the strike after street demonstrations led to extensive violence.


Spain - Higher Education


In the late 1980s, Spain had thirty-four universities, four of which were run by the Catholic Church (three by Jesuits and one by Opus Dei). Although the Catholic universities enrolled only 30,000 of the country's 900,000 students, they were highly regarded, especially by conservative, middle-class Spaniards, and therefore they exerted an influence in higher education far out of proportion to their size. The two largest and most respected state universities, the Complutense in Madrid, which by the late 1980s enrolled about 100,000 undergraduates, and the Central in Barcelona, which had about 80,000, together accounted for almost 20 percent of all university students.

Until the 1980s, the universities were under the direct control of the central government's Ministry of Education and Science. In 1983 the Socialist government passed the Law on University Reform (Ley de Reforma Universitaria--LRU), which weakened central government control over universities and gave increased autonomy to each public university. Universities were relatively free to offer new programs and to restructure themselves internally so long as they met the qualifications imposed on all state universities. The law also weakened (at least on paper) the control of the universities that had been exercised by the catedraticos, the senior professors who held the highly prestigious chairs in each department. The new law provided that control of the universities would shift to the claustro constituyente or university council made up of professors of all ranks, as well as administrators, staff, and occasionally, for certain purposes, students.

The university system offered two distinct tracks that emphasized either academic or vocational subjects. Students could pursue a five-year or a six-year course of study in the liberal and professional programs offered by the conventional facultades (pl., sing., facultad) or departments, or a three-year program at the escuelas universitarias, which offered training in nursing, teaching, and other less elite professions. Not surprisingly, the degrees offered by the escuelas usually had a lower status than those given in the more traditional academic programs.

Spain's universities grew even more rapidly during the 1960s than the elementary and secondary schools; enrollments increased from 77,000 to 241,000 between 1960 and 1972. The 1970 General Law on Education prescribed that each student completing the bachillerato course should have a university place available to him or to her, but by the mid-1970s the government reintroduced entrance exams to slow the explosive growth of the university system. Growth continued nevertheless, and by the 1986-87 academic year, the universities enrolled about 900,000 students. Of these, about two-thirds were studying in the traditional facultades and the rest, in the more applied programs in the escuelas.

In the late 1980s, Spain had the second highest ratio of university students to population in Western Europe, yet spending per student was only one-third of the West European average, leading to poorly paid faculty (the average university professor earned only slightly more than US$21,000 per year) and inadequate facilities, such as laboratories and libraries. Only a few of the more modern universities had student residences or dormitories; students at the older, urban universities lived at home or in apartments with other students. Instruction emphasized rote memory rather than independent analysis, and university faculties rarely combined research and teaching. In addition, the university system seemed poorly attuned to the needs of the rest of the country because it was preparing far too many young people for career fields already filled to overflowing (medicine, for example) and far too few for the jobs needed in an advanced industrial society, such as those involving computers and information science.

To a much greater degree than was true for elementary and secondary education, higher education tended to perpetuate longstanding social cleavages. Writing in 1985, Minister of Education and Science Maravall observed that 10 years earlier, 66 percent of the children of university-educated parents were able to attend university, while only 3 percent of the children of parents with just a primary education had had this opportunity. In 1980 children of parents in the upper education levels were twenty-eight times more likely to enter a university than were children of unskilled workers. Even after a decade of education reform, most university students depended completely on their parents for support through the end of their studies. The country's high unemployment rate, as well as the tradition that university students did not work while completing their studies, meant that few students could pay their own education costs. The country still lacked programs of scholarships and student subsidies that would enable education expenses to be borne by society as a whole. The result was that a university education was largely the privilege of the middle and the upper classes. To some degree, the same was true of the place of women in higher education. Although in 1984 about 47 percent of the country's university enrollment was female (a figure higher than that in most other countries in Western Europe), relatively few women went on to become university professors. The majority of university-educated women continued to pursue the professions traditionally open to them, especially pharmacy, journalism, and teaching at the elementary and the secondary levels.




According to several summary measures of social welfare, Spain could best be described as being at the low end of the list of advanced industrial countries. One such measure is the Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI) developed by the Overseas Development Council, an average of three indices--life expectancy, infant mortality, and literacy. In 1980, on a scale of from 1 to 100, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden all ranked at the top with scores of 98; Spain was twenty-eighth out of 164 countries--between Puerto Rico and Bulgaria--with a score of 92. Another measure, the Index of Net Social Progress (INSP), developed by Dr. Richard Estes of the University of Pennsylvania, uses data from eleven subindices, including education, health, the status of women, and welfare. On this scale, Spain, with a score of 122 for the 1979-80 period, ranked thirty-seventh out of 107 countries, quite far behind most other West European countries and comparable to several advanced Third World states, such as Mexico and Argentina. This lower rating stemmed from Spain's poor score in the Cultural Diversity Subindex, where ethnic and linguistic fragmentation caused Spain to fall in the ratings.

Health Conditions and Mortality

On a number of indicators of health care, Spain ranked fairly high among the advanced industrial countries. In both 1965 and 1981, the country had a better population-to-physician ratio than the average of the industrial democracies (800 to 1 versus 860 to 1, respectively, in 1965 and 360 to 1 versus 530 to 1, respectively, in 1981). In 1983, with more than 115,000 physicians, Spain ranked sixth in the world in its ratio of inhabitants to physicians. Despite dramatic strides in adding nursing personnel (causing a decline in the population-to-nurse ratio of from 1,220 to 1 to 280 to 1 in less than 20 years), the country remained near the bottom of the list of advanced industrial countries on this scale. Spain also ranked below most other West European countries in per capita public expenditures on health care--only US$220 per person in 1983. In 1981 there were in Spain slightly more than 1,000 hospitals and about 194,000 beds, or about 5.4 beds per 1,000 population.

As these figures suggest, the provision of health care in Spain was highly uneven. Even with a high ratio of doctors to inhabitants, the country had still not managed to eradicate such diseases as tuberculosis (more than 9,000 cases in 1983) and typhoid (5,500 cases); and there are still even a few new cases of leprosy reported each year. The root of this problem seems to be the maldistribution of the health care resources of the state's welfare system. Hospitals in one area of the country might be seriously understaffed, while those in other regions lay virtually empty. By and large, the worst-served areas were the workers' suburbs near large cities. One press report cited the neighborhood of Vallecas, near Madrid, where a population of 700,000 had no hospital at all and had only 3 doctors in residence, who were reduced to seeing patients at the rate of 1 per minute. A principal reason for understaffing was the system of multiple hospital assignments arranged by physicians to augment their salaries. Although regulations prohibited this practice, many doctors arranged to be on duty at more than one hospital at a time, thereby reducing their effectiveness in meeting patient needs.

In terms of the causes of death, Spain fairly closely resembled other advanced industrial societies, although cancer and heart disease appeared less frequently in Spain than in more industrialized countries. Of the nearly 290,000 deaths registered in 1980, almost half (45.8 percent) were due to a variety of circulatory system problems, principally heart attacks and strokes. The single most prevalent cause of death was malignant neoplasms; about one-fifth (20.2 percent) of all deaths were caused by cancer of one sort or another. About one-tenth (9.2 percent) of all deaths were occasioned by respiratory ailments. (Spaniards were the second heaviest smokers in the European Community--EC, after Greeks. About 40 percent of adults smoked, as did 50 percent of teenagers; the average 14-year-old reportedly smoked 2,700 cigarettes a year.) About 2 percent of deaths were caused by automobile accidents, and about 0.5 percent, by suicides.

In the third quarter of 1987, there were 112 cases of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) reported in Spain, bringing to 620 the total number of Spaniards afflicted by this disease. Although high, the Spanish figure was still less than half of that France, and it was far behind the more than 40,000 cases in the United States. Slightly more than half the AIDS victims contracted the disease through narcotics-related practices; about one-fifth, from homosexual contact; and about one-tenth were hemophiliacs.

During the 1960s and the 1970s, Spain achieved dramatic gains in reducing infant mortality. Between 1965 and 1985, the infant mortality rate dropped from being the highest among the industrial market economies, 38 per 1,000, to only 10 per 1,000 in 1985, which placed it ninth lowest in the world, on a par with other advanced industrial societies. The death rate for children less than one year old declined from slightly fewer than 13 per 1,000 in 1975 to fewer than 9 per 1,000 in 1979, and for children less than 5 years of age, it declined from 15 per 1,000 to fewer than 10 per 1,000 in the same period.

Spain also registered some improvement in food consumption during the 1960s and the 1970s, with per capita caloric supply growing by about 1 percent per year (from 2,844 in 1965 to 3,358 in 1985). In 1983 Spain ranked twenty-ninth in the world in calorie supply per capita. Spaniards daily consumed more calories than, or about the same number of calories as, the residents of Britain, France, Finland, Japan, Sweden, or Norway.

Public Safety and Environmental Problems

The reform and improvement of the country's food regulations and inspection procedures were long overdue. In 1981 Spain experienced a major public health disaster, a "toxic syndrome" still unexplained, but believed to be connected with the consumption of rapeseed oil intended for industrial use, but marketed by door-to-door salesmen as olive oil. More than 300 people died from this substance, and hundreds more were permanently disabled.

The rapeseed tragedy was only one of a number of man-made or man-aggravated disasters that Spain has experienced since it crossed the threshold into industrial society. Airplane crashes, train derailments, bus collisions, hotel fires, gas explosions--these and other tragedies were nearly commonplace in Spain. Far more people died in train accidents in Spain, for example, than in any other country in Europe. Spain suffered these disasters largely because of a combination of the advanced technology of an industrializing and urbanizing society, low standards of professional competence and private sector morality (themselves the product of rapid growth), and the state's unwillingness or inability to step in to regulate this increasingly sophisticated and complex society. Two problems of special importance can be cited here: public health and environmental contamination.

As the rapeseed tragedy illustrates, one of the chief problems in the public health field had to do with food and drink inspection and regulation. Although food containers and additives were analyzed by government chemists, the food and drink themselves were not tested before being put on sale. One report on the subject in the mid-1980s estimated that, in the whole of Spain, there were fewer than 1,000 people working full-time to check the quality of the food and drink in the 225,000 places where they were manufactured, distributed, sold, and consumed. Another check of the 3,000 restaurants, bars, and hotels in Madrid found that 35 percent of the wine, 41 percent of the spirits, and 75 percent of the milk and ice were unfit for human consumption. Rapid and uncontrolled industrialization and urbanization had left a legacy of air, water, and noise pollution that would take a major government effort many years to correct. The rivers flowing through Spain's major cities, such as Madrid or <"http://worldfacts.us/Spain-Bilbao.htm">Bilbao, were little more than open sewers. One survey of Bilbao's Rio Nervion showed that 385 factories dumped their untreated effluents into it, and that the oxygen content was only 5 percent compared with the 60 percent, needed to sustain fish. In Madrid, air pollution was a major problem during the late 1970s and the early 1980s, when the suspended particle count reached an average of more than 200 micrograms per cubic meter of air, compared with the government's recommended maximum level of 80. Bilbao's atmospheric carbon dioxide level was the highest of all the cities in Western Europe. Air pollution was a problem, due to the heavy automobile traffic (in the late 1970s only seven countries in the world had more registered passenger cars than Spain), oil-fired space heating, and heavy industry.

Although there had been significant improvement in environmental protection in such large cities as Bilbao and Madrid in the late 1980s, the mid-sized industrial cities around the country were still experiencing rising populations and pollution at alarming rates. According to a 1987 study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Spain was one of Europe's noisiest countries, principally because there were no regulations covering industrial or automobile noise levels. In late 1987, the Ministry of Public Works and City Planning finally drafted several government decrees that, for the first time, set maximum noise levels for industrial and construction machinery, motorcycles, and automobiles, and established new regulations in building codes that would require soundproofing for residences, hospitals, schools, and cultural centers. A survey of 226 firms in Madrid showed that 60 percent of their 165,000 employees were working in noise higher than government-approved limits. In 1988 a government report revealed that Spanish industry was producing 1,700,000 tons of toxic waste material each year, of which only 240,000 tons could be disposed of by burning. When the international agency, the Oslo Convention, denied Spain the right to dump some of these wastes in the North Sea, the government had to store thousands of tons of highly toxic chemicals in warehouses along the coast of the Bay of Biscay because there was no way that they could be released into the environment safely.


Housing was another area in which Spaniards had to respond to the challenges of dramatic change. During the late 1950s and the 1960s, about 14 percent of the total population changed residence permanently from one part of the country to another, and most of these people lacked suitable housing. One of the most pressing challenges of the government and of the private sector was to find or to build housing for these millions of uprooted people. The government became involved in housing policy relatively late and then only as a source of subsidy for the private sector. The government's 1961 National Housing Plan called for the construction of 4 million new dwellings by 1976. In the hope that home ownership would help dilute the working class radicalism that had fueled the economic crises of the 1930s, most of these dwellings were to be for sale, not for rent. About half of these residences were built and were financed through the unsubsidized private sector; for most of the remainder, the government subsidized only the lending institution. Thus, government-owned housing accounted for only a very small percentage of the total number of dwellings.

The private construction sector surpassed the target of 4 million new dwellings. In every major city of Spain, slums were replaced by high-rise apartment buildings that ringed the older town centers. Despite this building boom, however, by the time the wave of urban migration had subsided in the 1970s, there were still about 1.5 million people without homes, and the figure was about 230,000 as of the 1981 census. The government's housing policy had produced millions of new homes, but, by relying entirely on the private sector to produce them, the government ensured that new construction would be directed principally toward the growing middle class because there were greater profits to be made on large, expensive dwellings than there were on small, modest ones. The government attempted to offset these market forces by placing ceilings on sale prices and on the size of units to be subsidized, but the limits they imposed were so high that they did little to enlarge the market for cheap working-class housing. Not only was housing scarce, but much of it was in poor condition. According to the 1980 housing census, of the 6.5 million buildings tallied, one-fifth (1.3 million) had been built before 1900 and another one-fifth, between 1900 and 1940. Only 37 percent could be considered to be relatively modern, having been constructed since 1961. About 70 percent of the available buildings were classified as being in good condition, but nearly 10 percent were categorized as being seriously run down and in need of repair. Some 90 percent of the buildings had running water and indoor toilets, and 94 percent had electricity; but only 20 percent had central hot water service and only 4 percent had central heating.

The Socialist government elected in 1982 estimated that the country's housing stock must be increased by between 250,000 and 310,000 units each year, if all citizens were to have their own homes by the early 1990s. Still, only about 10 percent of the new dwellings were to be government-built; 200,000 units would continue to be built, financed, and sold, annually, through the private sector. Nevertheless, by the late 1980s many believed that the housing crisis was substantially over, and that Spaniards were within a decade of achieving their goal of minimally acceptable dwellings for all. In terms of quality, however, the people had to continue to live with the legacy of the 1960's construction boom--huge, impersonal apartment complexes; shoddy construction and high maintenance costs; and high purchase costs--for the foreseeable future.

Government Health and Welfare Programs

Following the reform of the government's social services in 1978, all social security benefits were under the supervision of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. In addition, the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs was responsible for public health and health education programs. In the government's 1988 budget, these programs were allocated about US$22.5 billion, a 9 percent increase over 1987 and about 23.3 percent of the total budget.

Except for unemployment benefits, most social security programs were administered under a single set of institutions created by the 1978 reform to replace the patchwork system of unions, insurance companies, mutual aid associations, and state-run programs that had evolved in haphazard fashion throughout the century. These institutions were not the only welfare system, but they did cover about 80 percent of the population, and they offered a complete range of welfare benefits, including cash payments, medical care, and social services. The programs were administered by three government agencies, together with the General Social Security Treasury, which was responsible for financial control. Cash payments were administered by the National Social Security Institute (Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social--INSS); medical care, by the National Health Institute (Instituto Nacional de Salud--INSALUD); and social services, by the National Institute for Social Services (Instituto Nacional de Servicios Sociales--INSERSO). After the advent of the autonomous community system, several autonomous governments sought to have responsibility for social security transferred to their jurisdictions. The health care responsibilities of INSALUD were transferred to the regional government of Catalonia in 1982 and to that of Andalucia in 1983. The Pais Vasco and Valencia were scheduled to receive their authority in the health field in 1988.

As of 1984, residents had access to a fairly comprehensive program of health insurance coverage, paid for by joint contributions from workers and employers; the state added a subsidy to cover deficits. Sickness benefits ranged between 60 and 75 percent of covered earnings, and maternity benefits amounted to 75 percent of covered earnings, paid both 6 weeks before, and 8 weeks after, childbirth. Medical services of all kinds were provided to patients directly through state-run hospitals and clinics, or through institutions under contract to the state. Pension insurance or retirement coverage was available to all employees in industry, including the service industry, and to their dependents. Benefits were financed by workers, employers, and the state under the same general scheme as that used for health insurance. There were separate systems in effect for sectors that were difficult to cover in this way, including farm workers, domestic servants, seamen, public employees, miners, and so forth. Old-age pensions were payable in most cases at age 65, and they constituted 50 percent of covered earnings (the average of the highest-paid 2 of the last 7 years) plus 2 percent per year of contributions made from eleven to thirty-five years, up to a maximum of 100 percent. Pensions--usually reduced to a certain percentage of the original pension, but equalling 100 percent under certain conditions--were also payable to survivors of the covered worker.

Unemployment insurance has been available in Spain since 1919, but the state has provided benefits to those out of work only since 1961. Insured workers contributed between 1.1 and 6.3 percent of covered earnings according to 12 occupational classes, while employers contributed between 5.2 and 6.3 percent of payroll, and the state added a variable subsidy. Benefits covered the insured for up to twenty-four months under normal circumstances, and they could range between 60 and 80 percent of covered earnings. Only about 60 percent of the registered unemployed received benefits, however, because the law excluded short-term and casual employees as well as those seeking their first jobs and because agricultural workers were covered under a special program.

During the 1980s, the state's share of funding for social security programs expanded rapidly, while the proportion contributed by employers and employees declined correspondingly. In the 1970s, the state was contributing only 5 percent; however, by the 1980s the figure had risen to more than 20 percent, still quite low by West European standards. Many employers complained because of the relatively high proportion (85 percent) that they had to contribute to the non-state portion of social security funding; some even falsified records or refused to make the payments, leaving their employees without benefits. Slightly less than two-thirds of social security expenditures were paid out in cash benefits, principally in the form of pensions to the aged, widows, orphans, and the disabled. The remaining third was spent on health, on social services, and, in small part, on administration.

As in many other advanced industrial countries, Spain's welfare system was under increasing financial pressure throughout the 1980s. This was due in part to the country's economic distress, which created the dual pressures of declining contributions and tax receipts on the one hand, and increased claims for unemployment assistance on the other. Another important reason was the decline of the extended family, which in earlier times had absorbed part of the cost of helping unemployed or distressed family members. However, the main reason was that, like those in other Western countries, Spain's population was aging rapidly and therefore the state had to pay more and more in old-age pensions. These pensions tended to be quite generous, the highest, in fact, after Sweden's, in Western Europe. Between 1972 and 1982, the number of pensioners rose by an average of 184,000 each year. By 1983, when there were 4.7 million pensioners, for every beneficiary of the pension program there were only 2.3 contributors, compared with an average of five in the rest of Western Europe. Thus, in the 1980s, officials began to talk seriously about the possibility of the bankruptcy of the old-age pension system. The private sector needed to become more heavily involved through private pension plans, but in the late 1980s, legislation that would make these plans possible had failed to win government approval. In a country where the elderly have traditionally been held in high esteem and have generally been well treated, the dramatic aging of the population was still a relatively new experience that would greatly affect public policies as well as the country's social values. In 1982 there were only 62 homes for the elderly, and these cared for some 12,500 persons; by 1986 the number of centers had increased by approximately 16 percent, to 72, and the number of elderly residents had increased by 25 percent, to about 15,700. Also in 1982, some 385 day-care centers provided services to about 1.1 million elderly; by 1986, just four years later, the number of these centers had increased by 13 percent to 435, and the number of elderly served by them had increase by 55 percent, to about 1.7 million. In this same four-year period, government expenditures on social services for the elderly rose by 87 percent, direct payments to the elderly rose by more than 170 percent, and investments in facilities for the aged increased by 160 percent. It was clear that these figures would continue to increase well into the twenty-first century, raising the highly controversial political question of who would bear this fiscal burden.


CITATION: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. The Country Studies Series. Published 1988-1999.

Please note: This text comes from the Country Studies Program, formerly the Army Area Handbook Program. The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.

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