Autonomous communities of Spain

Autonomous communities

Spanish: comunidad autónoma[a]
Basque: autonomia erkidegoa[b]
Catalan: comunitat autònoma[c]
Galician: comunidade autónoma[d]
Occitan: comunautat autonòma

CategoryAutonomous administrative division
Created bySpanish Constitution of 1978
Number17 (+2 autonomous cities)
PopulationsAutonomous communities:
321,171 (La Rioja) – 8,415,490 (Andalusia)
Autonomous cities:
81,323 (Melilla), 83,517 (Ceuta)
AreasAutonomous communities:
94,223 km2 (36,380 sq mi) (Castile and León) – 1,927 sq mi (4,990 km2) (Balearic Islands)
Autonomous cities:
4.7 sq mi (12 km2) (Melilla), 7.1 sq mi (18 km2) (Ceuta)
GovernmentAutonomous government

In Spain, an autonomous community (Spanish: comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political and administrative division, created in accordance with the Spanish constitution of 1978, with the aim of guaranteeing limited autonomy of the nationalities and regions that make up Spain.[1][2][3]

Spain is not a federation, but a highly decentralized[4][5] unitary state.[1] While sovereignty is vested in the nation as a whole, represented in the central institutions of government, the nation has, in variable degrees, devolved power to the communities, which, in turn, exercise their right to self-government within the limits set forth in the constitution and their autonomous statutes.[1] Each community has its own set of devolved powers; typically those communities with a stronger local nationalism have more powers; this type of devolution has been called asymmetrical. Some scholars have referred to the resulting system as a federal system in all but name, or a "federation without federalism".[6]There are 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities that are collectively known as "autonomies".[i] The two autonomous cities have the right to become autonomous communities, but neither has yet exercised it. This unique framework of territorial administration is known as the "State of Autonomies".[ii]

The autonomous communities are governed according to the constitution and their own organic laws known as Statutes of Autonomy,[iii] which define the competences that they assume. Since devolution was intended to be asymmetrical in nature,[7] the scope of competences vary for each community, but all have the same parliamentary structure.[1]

Autonomous communities

Flag Autonomous
Capital President Area (km²) Population (2016) Density (/km²) GDP per capita (euros) Status
Andalusia Seville Juan Manuel Moreno (PP) 87,268 8,388,107 96 16,960 Nationality
Catalonia Barcelona Quim Torra (JxCat) 32,114 7,522,596 234 27,248 Nationality
Community of Madrid Madrid Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP) 8,028 6,466,996 609 29,385 Region
Valencian Community Valencia Ximo Puig (PSOE) 23,255 4,959,968 210 19,964 Nationality
Galicia Santiago de Compostela Alberto Núñez Feijóo (PP) 29,574 2,718,525 92 20,723 Nationality
Castile and León Valladolid
(only seat of the institutions, but not officially capital)
Alfonso Fernández Mañueco (PP) 94,223 2,447,519 26 22,289 Historical region
Basque Autonomous Community Vitoria-Gasteiz
(only seat of the institutions, but not officially capital)
Iñigo Urkullu (PNV) 7,234 2,189,534 300 30,829 Nationality
Castilla-La Mancha Toledo Emiliano García-Page (PSOE) 79,463 2,041,631 26 17,698 Region
Canary Islands Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Ángel Víctor Torres (PSOE) 7,447 2,101,924 280 19,568 Nationality
Region of Murcia Murcia Fernando López Miras (PP) 11,313 1,464,847 129 18,520 Region
Aragon Zaragoza Javier Lambán (PSOE) 47,719 1,308,563 27 25,540 Nationality
Extremadura Mérida Guillermo Fernández Vara (PSOE) 41,634 1,087,778 26 15,394 Region
Balearic Islands Palma Francina Armengol (PSOE) 4,992 1,107,220 220 24,393 Nationality
Principality of Asturias Oviedo Adrián Barbón (PSOE) 10,604 1,042,608 98 21,035 Historical region
Chartered Community of Navarre Pamplona María Chivite (PSOE) 10,391 640,647 62 29,071 Nationality
Cantabria Santander Miguel Ángel Revilla (PRC) 5,321 582,206 109 22,341 Historical region
La Rioja Logroño Concha Andreu (PSOE) 5,045 315,794 63 25,508 Region

Autonomous cities

Flag Coat of arms Autonomous city Mayor-President Area (km²) Population (2016) Density (/km²) GDP per capita
Ceuta Ceuta Juan Jesús Vivas (PP) 18.5 84,519 4,500 19,335
Melilla Melilla Eduardo de Castro (Cs) 12.3 86,026 6,380 16,981
Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Chū-tī siā-lí
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Аўтаномныя супольнасьці Гішпаніі
Bahasa Indonesia: Komunitas otonom di Spanyol
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Ispaniya avtonomiyalari
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Španske autonomne pokrajine
West-Vlams: Regio (Spanje)