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indicator value unit
Population 46.1 mil.
Visitors per year 52.7 mil.
Renewable energy 9.47 %

How’s Life?

Spain performs well in many measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks close to the average or higher in several topics in the Better Life Index.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Spain, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is 22 799 USD a year, slightly less than the OECD average of 23 938 USD a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn more than six times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, around 56% of people aged 15 to 64 in Spain have a paid job, below the OECD employment average of 65%. Some 61% of men are in paid work, compared with 51% of women. People in Spain work 1 686 hours a year, less than the OECD average of 1 765 hours. Only 6% of employees work very long hours, less than the OECD average of 9%, with 8% of men working very long hours compared with just 3% for women.

Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Spain, 54% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, lower than the OECD average of 75%. This is slightly truer of women than men, as 53% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 55% of women. In terms of the quality of the educational system, the average student scored 490 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), lower than the OECD average of 497. On average in Spain, girls outperformed boys by 2 point, lower than the average OECD gap of 8 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Spain is 82 years, two years higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 85 years, compared with 79 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 23.7 micrograms per cubic meter, higher than the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Spain also performs below the OECD average in terms of water quality, as 75% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, below the OECD average of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in Spain, where 92% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, higher than the OECD average of 89%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 69% during recent elections; this figure is slightly lower than the OECD average of 72%. There is little difference in voting levels across society; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 76% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 66%, a slightly narrower gap than the OECD average gap of 11 percentage points.

In general, 65% of people in Spain say they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc.) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc.), less than the OECD average of 76%.

For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.


OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Spain 2014

The OECD Economic Survey of Spain for 2014 examines recent economic developments, prospects and policies. This edition includes special chapters covering raising potential growth and boosting the business sector.

Read this report

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Spain in Detail