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Spain: Regional Concentration
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Industry > Regional Concentration


Spanish industry has long been concentrated in a few areas. Traditionally, the major industrial areas were in Barcelona and surrounding Catalonia, the northern region of Asturias and the Basque provinces, Madrid, and to a lesser extent the mineral-rich southwest.

Catalonia had a concentration of processing and engineering industries, rather than basic industries. It was the dominant area for food and textile industries, and it was a center for the production of electronics. Tarragona's industrial capacity, based on a large oil refinery and a petrochemical complex, was growing rapidly. Catalonia also had a highly developed machinery industry, including the country's largest automobile plant and extensive railroad foundries and workshops, as well as diesel, electrical engineering, and various industrial equipment plants.

The northern coast and the Basque region were centers of basic industry because of their coal and iron ore deposits and their port facilities, used for raw material imports. Spain's major iron and steel works were located in the northern region, as were a number of engineering industries, shipbuilding facilities, and chemical plants.

Madrid was a major manufacturing center, producing, among other items, automobiles, electrical equipment, and aircraft. Its location in the center of both Spain and the poorly endowed Meseta Central would seem to make it a poor prospect for industrial development; however, its large population, transportation facilities, and governmental role stimulated its evolution as an industrial center. By contrast, some of the country's industrially and agriculturally poorer provinces lay in a vast arc separating Madrid from the northern coast and the Catalan areas.

Data as of December 1988

Last Updated: December 1988

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Spain was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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