The subdivision of Spain is unique as the country is divided into autonomous communities as well as provinces. The provinces were initially of high importance, but their significance has waned in recent years after the establishment of the autonomous communities. The provinces are similar to the 1833 territorial division of the country. Spain is made up of 50 communities which vary both in size as well as in population.
The Most Populated Provinces in Spain
Madrid is situated in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Castile-La Mancha and Castile and Leon. Madrid has a population of over 6.5 million people (13.75% of Spain’s total population) making it the most populous province in the country. The province has one of the highest population densities of any province in Spain with 2,095.3 persons per square mile. Madrid is the administrative capital of the province and is also the province’s largest city. The majority of the province’s population resides in the metropolitan region of the city of Madrid. The population in Madrid has recorded significant percentage increases throughout its documented history and peaked at 45.5% in 1970. Madrid has the highest number of foreign residents of any province with foreigners accounting for 13.32% of its population.
Barcelona is a province situated inside the autonomous community of Catalonia. It covers an area of 2,986 square miles. The province of Barcelona is the second most populous province in Spain as its total population of 5.54 million residents is only exceeded by Madrid. The city of Barcelona is the administrative capital of the province and is home to the majority (30%) of the province’s population with over 1.6 million people living in the city.
The province of Valencia is located in the south-eastern region of the country and is part of the autonomous community of Valencia. It is bordered by Alicante, Cuenca, Castellon, Albacete, Teruel, and the Mediterranean Sea. Rincon de Ademuz, a region outside Valencia’s borders, is also part of its territory. The province is the third most populous in the country with a total population of 2.56 million residing within its area which covers 4,156 square miles. The population of the province is equivalent to 5.45% of Spain’s total population. The majority of the population resides in the city of Valencia, which is the province’s largest city and also acts as its administrative capital. The most popular languages spoken in Valencia are Spanish and Catalan.
The province of Alicante is situated in the south-eastern region of the country. It is within the autonomous community of Valencia. The province is one of the smallest in the country, covering an area of 2,245.8 square miles. It is the fourth most populous province in Spain with a population of over 1.95 million people. The largest city in the province is Alicante which has a population of 334,757 residents and is also the province’s administrative capital. The other main cities in the province with more than 50,000 residents are Orihuela, San Vincente del Raspeig, Torrevieja, Alcoy, and Benidorm.