Country Listing

Spain Table of Contents




View of Mondoņendo, Lugo Province
Courtesy National Tourist Office of Spain

According to several summary measures of social welfare, Spain could best be described as being at the low end of the list of advanced industrial countries. One such measure is the Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI) developed by the Overseas Development Council, an average of three indices--life expectancy, infant mortality, and literacy. In 1980, on a scale of from 1 to 100, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden all ranked at the top with scores of 98; Spain was twenty-eighth out of 164 countries--between Puerto Rico and Bulgaria--with a score of 92. Another measure, the Index of Net Social Progress (INSP), developed by Dr. Richard Estes of the University of Pennsylvania, uses data from eleven subindices, including education, health, the status of women, and welfare. On this scale, Spain, with a score of 122 for the 1979-80 period, ranked thirty-seventh out of 107 countries, quite far behind most other West European countries and comparable to several advanced Third World states, such as Mexico and Argentina. This lower rating stemmed from Spain's poor score in the Cultural Diversity Subindex, where ethnic and linguistic fragmentation caused Spain to fall in the ratings.

Data as of December 1988