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Nationality: Noun--Spaniard(s). Adjective--Spanish.
Population: 41.2 million.
Annual growth rate: 0.8%.
Ethnic groups: Distinct ethnic groups within Spain include the Basques, Catalans, and Galicians.
Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic.
Languages: Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan-Valenciana 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%.
Education: Years compulsory--to age 16. Literacy (2003 est.)--98%.
Work force (16.6 million, 2003 est.): Services--61%; agriculture--5.9%; construction--11.7%; industry--17.9%
People of Spain
Spain's population density, lower than that of most European countries, is roughly equivalent to New England's. In recent years, following a longstanding pattern in the rest of Europe, rural populations are moving to cities.
Spain has no official religion. The constitution of 1978 disestablished the Roman Catholic Church as the official state religion, while recognizing the role it plays in Spanish society. More than 90% of the population are at least nominally Catholic.
About 70% of Spain's student population attends public schools or universities. The remainder attend private schools or universities, the great majority of which are operated by the Catholic Church.
Compulsory education begins with primary school or general basic education for ages 6-14. It is free in public schools and in many private schools, most of which receive government subsidies. Following graduation, students attend either a secondary school offering a general high school diploma or a school of professional education (corresponding to grades 9-12 in the United States) offering a vocational training program. The Spanish university system offers degree and post-graduate programs in all fields--law, sciences, humanities, and medicine--and the superior technical schools offer programs in engineering and architecture.