The Spanish people are a mixture of the indigenous peoples of the Iberian Peninsula with the successive peoples who conquered the peninsula and occupied it for extended periods.
Several ethnic groups in Spain have kept a separate identity, culturally and linguistically. These include the Catalans (16 percent of the population), who live principally in the northeast and on the eastern islands; the Galicians (7 percent), who live in northwestern Spain; the Basques, or Euskal-dun (2 percent), who live chiefly around the Bay of Biscay; and the nomadic Spanish Roma (Gypsies), also called Gitanos.
The population of Spain is approximately 40 million with an overall density of 79 persons per sq km (206 per sq mi). Spain is experiencing significant rural-urban migration with 78 percent of the population now living in towns and cities.
Spain comprises 50 provinces in 17 autonomous regions: Andalusia, Aragón, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Basque Country (País Vasco), Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castile-La Mancha, Castile-León, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra, and Valencia.
Over 97% of the population is Roman Catholic the remainder consisting of small communities of Protestants, Jews, and Muslims.