According to the report on ‘Regional Economic Balance 2000 – 2005’ carried out by ‘La Fundación de las Cajas de Ahorros’ (Funcas), Barcelona was the most expensive city in Spain in 2005 while Badajoz was found to be the least expensive. On average prices for goods and services were 24% more expensive in Barcelona than in Badajoz. Gerona, La Rioja, Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa and Lérida were listed among the 10 most expensive regions while Soria, Cuenca, Cáceres, Salamanca and Ciudad Real were found to be the least expensive. The regions that consumed the most in relation to their income were Andalucía, Asturias and Galicia while Valencia, País Vasco and Navarra were found to be the regions that spent the least.
Extremadura and Castilla and León had the most public expenditure compared to Madrid, Baleares and Cataluña which had the least. Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha and Galicia were the highest investors in training while Navarra, País Vasco and Madrid were the lowest investors.
The study carried out by Funcas also found that the rising number of immigrants settling in Spain accounted for the 14.9% growth in the Spanish population from 18 million to 21 million between 2000 and 2005. Gerona, Almería and Álava registered the most growth in each case above 60% while Zamora, Orense and Asturias, registered the least growth (below 50%) in this respect.
According to the study the number of unemployed went down by 2% which together with the number of immigrants means that the rate of employment has risen by 17%. The highest rise in employment was 19.8% in Almería compared to 3.33% in Lugo. The highest rise was seen in the Mediterranean and the North East of Spain.
Murcia, Madrid and Sevilla saw the highest economic growth registering more than the national average while Soria, Zamora and Lugo saw the lowest growth according to the study.
Murcia grew by 4.26% in 2005 (the national average being 3.38%), followed by Madrid (4.10%) and Sevilla (3.94%). Cádiz (3.83%), Lérida (3.80%), Almería (3.67%), Córdoba (3.64%) and Vizcaya (3.53%) were also among the 10 other provinces which experienced the highest economic growth in contrast with Soria which had the lowest growth at just 1.16%, followed by Zamora (1.94%), Lugo (2,29%), Baleares (2,31%), Teruel (2,35%), Orense (2,36%), Álava (2,39%) and Huesca (2.46%). According to these figures Soria and Zamora were the only provinces whose economies did not grow by more than 2%.