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last updated: October 5, 2005


The city of Barcelona is the capital of the Autonomous Region of Catalonia and, at the same time, the nucleus of a Metropolitan Area with which it is closely interrelated at all levels. The latest available data put the population of the city of Barcelona at 1,537,000 inhabitants, which constitutes 25 per cent of the population of Catalonia and almost 4 per cent of Spain. However, the municipality of Barcelona occupies only 98 square kilometres, in other words, 0.3 per cent of the territory of Catalonia.

The "real city" or Metropolitan Area of Barcelona includes 33 municipalities with a population of 3 million inhabitants. A new area has been recently officially delimited, namely the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona which includes 163 municipalities with 4.2 million inhabitants. Economic activity is characterised by diversification and by the increasing importance of services. In recent years, Barcelona and its metropolitan environment have undergone a profound economic and urban change.