From 1900 to today: a century of change in Spanish society

26th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

26 November 2007, Madrid - In 1960 no more than 0.14 percent of Spanish women had graduated from university.

26 November 2007

Madrid - In 1960 no more than 0.14 percent of Spanish women had graduated from university.

By 2001 that number had grown to 13 percent, surpassing the number of male university graduates - 12.6 percent of the total - for the first time in Spanish history according to a report released Thursday by the BBVA Foundation on the transformation of the Spanish population over the past century.

Led by a group of professors from Valencia University, the report analyzes the changes in Spanish society over the last 100 years.

One of the most spectacular changes is the drop in illiteracy rates, which have plummeted from 63 percent in 1900 to 2.4 percent in 2001.

The literacy rate for women is now 96.7 percent, compared to 28.6 percent at the beginning of the century.

While Spanish people today are better educated than one century ago, they also work more.

In 1900 only 40 percent of Spaniards worked while in 2001 that number had grown to 47 percent, an increase that largely reflects the fact that since the 1960s, and in particular over the past 20 years, women have been joining the workforce in massive numbers.

In 1900 only 14.7 percent of Spanish women worked compared to 37.2 percent in 2001. The number of male workers has dropped from 67 percent in 1900 to 57 percent in 2001.

One of the greatest structural changes has been the emergence of the service sector as the main productive sector. In 2006, the service sector represented 66 percent of Spain's gross domestic product according to the National Statistics Institute.

Also, according to BBVA's report, while in 1900, 71.4 percent of the population worked in the agricultural sector, today only 6.4 percent of the population does so. The number of industrial workers has fallen from 23.4 percent in 1960 to 18.4 percent in 2001.

Meanwhile, Spain has transformed from a country of emigrants into a recipient of immigrants. In Alicante, foreign residents now represent 20 percent of the overall population, and in five municipal districts of Alicante they represent 60 percent.

The majority of immigrants who decide to settle in Spain are from Morocco and Romania. Most of the newcomers find jobs in the service sector and construction.

The most developed areas of the country with the greatest growth potential have become the main magnets for immigrants.

As such immigration is on the one hand exacerbating economic differences between Spanish regions, while helping to limit the negative economic impact of a fast-ageing population and boosting the social security system and the services offered to the most vulnerable sectors of the population such as the elderly, the sick and children.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL. 2007]

Subject: Spanish news

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