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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Political and economic situation


1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.4Political and economic situation

Last update: 14 February 2024

Political situation

The political form of the Spanish State is a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as Head of State and the legislative power residing in the Spanish Parliament, which in turn monitors the executive branch.

Spain is a multi-party country.  Since 1982, there have been mainly governments of the Partido Popular (People’s Party) and the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party).  After the elections held on December 2015, new political parties and citizen candidacies emerged, which had already participated in the formation of local and regional governments.  

On January 7, 2020, Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) was elected Prime Minister after the corresponding parliamentary vote. The president has formed a ministerial cabinet with members of the PSOE and Unidas Podemos, which constitutes the first coalition government of the current democratic period.

Within the model of representative democracy, the Congress of Deputies is made up of 350 deputies, representatives of the citizens that have elected them (Electoral Law of 1985).

Economic situation

Spain enjoyed a long process of economic expansion after the crisis of the 1990s, translated into growth above the European average. But in 2008 it suffered a stagnation of its economy that ended up generating a period of economic recession. The recovery did not begin until 2014.

The significant drop in 2020 (10.8%) was due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which led the Spanish economy to record a historic decline. However, GDP growth resumed in 2021 (6.4 %) and in 2022 (5.8 %). The European Commission forecasts Spanish GDP growth at 2.2 % in 2023 and an increase of 1.9 % in 2024.

Growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Spain (annual %)

Year 2005 2015 2022
GDP growth (annual %) 3.7 % 3.8 % 5.8 %

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice España-rediE Network for Information on Education (National Institute for Educational Evaluation (INEE), Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MEFD) on the basis of Annual National Accounts of Spain and GDP. National Statistics Institute (INE).

In 2021, public expenditure on education grew in absolute value (4481.6 million). As for the weight of education expenditure in relation to GDP for the same year, the ratio of education expenditure to GDP (4.94 %) remained the same as in the previous year.

Public expenditure on education1 






Absolute value (EUR thousand)

39 732 766

52 557 676

46 262 400

59 657 245

Share of GDP (%)





1It refers to the expenditure on education (Liquidated Budgets) of all public administrations, including universities. 

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice España-rediE network (INEE, MEFD) from the Statistics Office of the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD) on public spending on education by economic coverage, type of administration and period and on public spending on education in relation to GDP. by economic coverage, type of administration and period.

The level of education of the adult population is an indicator for the social and economic development of a country and is closely related to its productive system.

Level of education of the adult population (25-64 years) as a percentage

  Below Upper Secondary Education Upper Secondary Education Higher Education













Source: Drawn up by Eurydice España-rediE network (INEE, MEFD) on the basis of  the Statistics of the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD) by exploiting the educational variables of the Active Population Survey (INE) and the State system of education indicators (SEIE). In the following link there is further information by autonomous community.

In Spain, there has been an important variation in the level of training among the population aged 25 to 64 years old:

  • In 2002, 57.5 % of the population had only lower than upper secondary education.
  • In 2022, this percentage has been reduced to 35.8 %.


    Also noteworthy is the increase in the number of people with higher education qualifications:

  • In 2002, the percentage was 24.9 %.
  • In 2022 it reached 41.1 %.