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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: 29 March 2023

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, in 2021 GDP grew again (5.5%).

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





GDP growth (annual %)

5,2 %

0,2 %

5,5 %

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

During the years of recession, there was a reduction in public spending on many areas, including education: public expenditure on education was reduced, and so was spending on education in relation to GDP.  In 2020, although spending on education grew in absolute value (2,084.7 million), its relation to GDP (4.94 %) remained slightly below the values for 2010 (4.95 %).

Public expenditure on education1 

Absolute value (EUR thousand)28 333 73239 097 71453 099 32955 184 034
Share of GDP (%)4.384.294.954.94

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

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice España-rediE network (INEE, MEFP) from the Statistics Office of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MEFP) 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, MEFP) on the basis of  the Statistics of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MEFP) 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 the year 2000, 61.5% of the population only had a level of education below upper secondary education.
  • In 2021, that percentage has dropped to 36.1%.

Also noteworthy is the increase in people with higher degrees:

  • In the year 2000, the percentage was 22.6%.
  • In 2021 it reached 40.7%.