From paella to the series Money Heist or from Quixote to Rosalía’s latest hits, the Spanish essence is present every day in every corner of the world. But beyond its culture, Spain has consolidated itself as one of the most democratic, modern, open and innovative countries in the world. These 10 facts prove it.


5th best country in the world to be a woman


The image of hundreds of thousands of women – and men – filling the streets of Madrid during the Women’s Day demonstrations is just one example of Spanish society’s awareness of equality. The progress of women in Spain has been unstoppable. So much so that, according to the Women, Peace & Security Index (2017-2018) of Georgetown University and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, Spain is the 5th best country in the world to be born a woman, out of a total of 153 States. It is surpassed only by Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Slovenia, and ranks above Finland, Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands, among many others.


One of the most competitive and innovative countries in the world


The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2018 places Spain in 26th place among the 140 most competitive countries in the world. A ranking that is led by the USA and in which Spain stands out for its healthcare system (1st position) and infrastructure (10th position). Madrid and Barcelona are two of the fastest growing start-up scenes in Europe, according to the Financial Times. Spain’s enormous technological and communications capacity has a lot to do with this: it is the leading European country in high-speed railway lines and the second in the world (only behind China); fourth EU country with the best digital public services; the world’s fifth in airport connections; and within the OECD countries it comes in at number three with the highest penetration of fibre optics to the home.


Pioneers in diversity and tolerance


On July 3, 2005, Spain became the 3rd country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, only behind the Netherlands and Belgium, and in the same year as Canada; and the 1st to establish equal adoption rights for same-sex couples. In addition to legislation, various sociological studies by the Pew Research Center reflect that these are the countries with the greatest acceptance of homosexuality; and, according to the ILGA association, the 6th best European country for asylum seekers on the grounds of sexual discrimination.


Leaders in science and innovation


Spain is the world’s 10th largest producer of scientific documents, according to the Scimago Journal & Country Rankings (SJR), led by the US. This index measures the scientific quality of a publication using Scopus, the world’s largest database of scientific articles, which extracts citations from articles from more than 34,100 journals from over 5,000 international publishers and analyses and tracks the source. According to this report, Spanish researchers have published more than 1.25 million scientific documents in two decades. A figure that exceeds countries such as Australia, South Korea, Russia and Holland.


At the forefront of democracy and freedom


Forty years after the approval of its Constitution, Spanish democracy is among one of the most consolidated in the world. The V-Dem Institute report, from the University of Gothenburg, places Spain in 26th place in its ranking, out of a total of 179 countries. The Economist, on the other hand, places Spain in 19th position. Freedom House, an international entity that analyzes freedom and democracy around the world, gives Spain a score of 9.4 out of 10, matching its European neighbours and surpassing countries such as France, Italy and the United Kingdom, among others. We also stand out as one of the countries with the greatest adherence to the rule of law, according to the Rule of Law Index by World Justice Project.


One of the world’s largest exporters


The Spanish economy looks abroad. In 2018, Spain’s exports reached a record 285 billion euros, 24% of the country’s GDP, it stands out in the automobile industry and its components and the food and beverage industry (especially wine). In recent years, Spain has also been one of the main recipients of investment in the world. Specifically, the 12th in foreign direct investment stock (634 billion dollars), according to the OECD. It is, therefore, the 30th best country in the world in which to do business, from a total of 190 States, according to the World Bank.


Committed to sustainable development


Spain has made a solid commitment to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN to prevent the degradation of our planet. The result of the action that has been taken by our country has moved us to the 21st position (out of 162 countries analysed) in the Sustainable Development Report 2019, prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). With a score of 77.8 out of 100, we are ahead of other countries such as the United States, Israel and Russia, and we are very close to countries with policies focused on the environment and sustainability such as Canada or Iceland. We also stand out internationally in solidarity, a fundamental value of our citizenship, which is the most favorable to receive refugees.


The healthiest country in the world


The Mediterranean diet, our excellent healthcare system and our climate make Spain, according to Bloomberg, the healthiest country in the world. It is not surprising, therefore, that it is the country with the third highest life expectancy in the world, only behind Japan and Switzerland, and by 2040 we are expected to have the longest life expectancy, according to the University of Washington. The Spanish healthcare system, one of the most efficient in the world, has a lot to do with it.


The 2nd most visited country in the world


The figures for tourism in Spain are extraordinary: 2018 received almost 83 million foreign visitors, surpassing previous tourist number records, and consolidating its position as one of the three most visited country in the world, and second in terms of revenue generated by tourism. Among the reasons for this success are our culture, one of the most influential in the world; our gastronomy, also a world leader; our natural spaces, at the top of the Natura 2000 Network; and the friendliness of its people. The security offered by Spain is also a guarantee for tourists, students and foreign businessmen. Among other attributes, it is the 2nd safest country to walk alone in, at night, according to Gallup.


Spanish, the fastest growing language in the world


More than 480 million people speak Spanish as their mother tongue in 21 countries, the second most spoken after Mandarin Chinese. This figure rises to 577 million if we include those who speak it as a second or foreign language. According to the Cervantes Institute, the main entity for the promotion of the Spanish language, it is the fastest growing language in the world. The Spanish language is growing both in the areas of teaching and on the Internet, where it is the 3rd most widely used language.