What is the poorest city in Spain

Income and salaries in Spain

The per capita income in Spain is significantly lower than in Germany. There are also strong regional differences here. In the Basque Country and the Madrid region, wages and salaries are highest. In the south and on the holiday islands, however, the average income is significantly lower.
The port of Cadiz (David Acosta Allely / Shutterstock.com)

Average salaries in Spain

The gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant in Spain was around 27,540 euros in 2018. For comparison: In Germany, GDP in 2018 was around 42,700 euros per person. Before the economic crisis in 2008, the value in Spain was over 33,000 euros. After reaching the low of around 24,100 euros in 2015, the gross domestic product per inhabitant rose again slightly in recent years.

The average earnings in Spain in 2018 was 1,944.42 euros per month (approx. 23,330 euros per year). Due to the global economic crisis around 10 years ago, the wage level fell significantly after 2008. Since 2013, the average income has stagnated at roughly the same level. With an increase of 2.9% compared to the previous year, 2018 was a clearly positive ray of hope for the development of wages and salaries in Spain.

There are also differences in earnings between men and women in Spain. The average annual wage for men in 2018 was 25,930 euros, while a woman in Spain earned an average of 20,500 euros in the same period. But at least the wage level of women climbed from 77.1% (2013) to over 79% (2018) compared to that of Spanish men. The wage register for companies, which has been mandatory since 2021, is intended to further close the wage gap (see below).

Managers and executives earn the highest income in Spain. At 49,200 euros a year, you earn almost twice as much as the average. In many technical professions, wages and salaries are sometimes well above the national average. Skilled workers in agriculture (18,170 euros) and employees in retail and catering (14,800 euros) earn considerably less.

Incidentally, the Spanish Prime Minister earns around 6,900 euros a month (82,978 euros a year), around a third of the earnings of the German Chancellor.

Regional differences

As in many countries, there are large regional differences in wages and salaries in Spain. The region of Madrid (27,170 euros per year) and the Basque Country (26,900 euros) as well as the exclaves Melilla (26,780 euros) and Ceuta (25,870 euros) were well above the nationwide Spanish average wage in 2018. With Catalonia, Navarre, Asturias, Cantabria and Aragon, there were a few other regions above it. In all other autonomous communities and provinces, incomes and salaries are lower than average.

Extremadura (19,340 euros), Andalusia (20,980 euros) and Murcia (21,130 euros) and Castile-La Mancha (21,310 euros) are at the bottom of the list on the Spanish mainland.

Also on the islands of the Canary Islands (20,150 euros) and the Balearic Islands (22,340 euros), wages and salaries are in some cases well below the Spanish average. However, the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca, Formentera) have been among the regions in recent years that have been able to increase their gross income.

Average monthly gross salaries in Spain by region (2018)

Autonomous communityIncome in euros
Basque Country2.241,80
Average Spain1.944,42
Balearic Islands1.862,60
Castile and Leon1.843,85
Castile-La Mancha1.776,60

The richest and poorest communities in Spain

The ten richest municipalities (with more than 1,000 inhabitants) in Spain are all around the two metropolises of Madrid and Barcelona. The place with the highest gross income in 2018 was the 9,000-inhabitant city of Matadepera. The average income here was a whopping 218,788 euros. The fact that Matadepera replaced the winner of previous years Pozuelo de Alarcón was probably only due to the Spanish billionaire Manuel Lao Hernández, who sold his casino company Cirsa to the investment company Blackstone for an estimated 2.2 billion.

For 2019 Pozuelo de Alarcón, a municipality near Madrid, will probably take first place again. In the La Finca district there live some stars from Real Madrid who, as is well known, do not earn that badly. The gross income in Pozuelo de Alarcón was 79,506 euros in 2018.

In the next three to ten places are the municipalities of Boadilla del Monte (61,910), Alcobendas (60,842), Sant Just Desvern (58,875), Sant Cugat del Vallès (57,565), Majadahonda (54,506), Alella (54,412), Torrelodones (54,123) and Villanueva de la Cañada (52,826).

Only in eleventh place comes Rocafort (Valencia), the first municipality from another region. Here the income in 2018 was 52,320 euros. The richest island community in Spain is Valldemossa on Mallorca with an average gross income of 44,773 euros.

In Andalusia, three municipalities from the province of Seville occupy the first places: Tomares (27,131), Espartinas (26,513) and Valencina de la Concepción (25,383). Benahavís from the province of Málaga follows closely behind (25,222).

The people in some municipalities in the Extremadura region earn the least. Four of the six lowest-income places are in the local province of Badajoz. In Zahínos, the average gross income is only 12,459 euros. There are little more in Puebla de Obando (12,575) and
Higuera de Vargas (12,661). In between there is the municipality of Palmar de Troya, El (province of Seville) with 12,560 euros.

Selected average wages in Spain

In the following list we give an overview of the monthly and annual gross income and salaries of certain professional groups in Spain for the year 2018:

The annual income is in brackets

  • Extractive industry: 2,175 euros (26,100 euros)
  • Construction: 1,866 euros (22,392 euros)
  • Hotel and catering trade: 1,235 euros (14,820 euros)
  • Finance / Insurance: 3,350 euros (40,200 euros)
  • Real estate industry: 1,571 euros (18,852 euros)
  • Education: 2,365 euros (28,380 euros)
  • Transport / logistics: 1,945 euros (23,340 euros)
  • Public administration: 2,563 euros (30,756 euros)
  • Energy supply: 3,633 euros (43,596 euros)

Note: The numbers are national averages and may vary by region.

Minimum wage in Spain

The legal minimum wage in Spain (Salario Mínimo Interprofesional - SMI) was introduced in 1963 by the dictator Francisco Franco. The minimum wage is set anew on January 1st. In 2020 it will be 950 euros a month (13,300 euros a year, as 14 payments are made). The minimum hourly wage is 5.94 euros (for comparison in Germany: 9.35 euros)

The minimum wage has increased significantly in recent years, but this level only applies to employees who work 40 hours a week. Anyone who does not reach the 40 hours is still entitled to a percentage of the minimum wage.

Salary register for companies

The salary register for companies (registro salarial), which has been compulsory for many companies since April 2021, lists all salaries and wages as well as other benefits and payments for the entire workforce, including executives and senior executives. These must be broken down by gender.

The aim of the register is to promote wage transparency in companies in order to guarantee equal wages for men and women in jobs of equal value and to combat the »gender pay gap«.

The salary register is mandatory for all companies with more than 100 employees, and from March 2022 also for companies with 50 to 100 employees.

In all companies that have a union; workers have the right to know the full contents of the register. Companies without a union only have to publish the percentage differences between the average salaries of men and women.

If the average wage of one gender is at least 25% higher than that of the other, this must be justified in the register. Companies that do not publish a salary register can be fined between 626 and 6,250 euros.

Social assistance in Spain

Due to the corona crisis, the socialist-led government under the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez introduced nationwide basic social security for the first time in June 2020. The vote was passed without a dissenting vote by the entire parliament.

Basic security in Spain is similar to the German social welfare system (Hartz IV). Aid is between 462 and 1,015 euros per month, depending on the size and composition of the household. Eligible are persons between the ages of 23 and 65 who must meet the following requirements:

  • Keeping an independent household for at least three years
  • Social security contributions for at least one year
  • Income per person in the household is less than 230 euros per month

Sources: Statistical Office of Spain (Instituto Nacional de Estadística - INE), Agencia Tributaria

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