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Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Location and Area

© Fundación Madrimasd para el Conocimiento

The Madrid Region is located at the geographic centre of the Iberian Peninsula (its most northern point being 41º 10' and most southern point 39º 53') and it covers a surface area of 8,026 km2. It is an inland region and represents 1.7% of the total national territory. The region is located on a high central plateau and its north-western part is very mountainous (maximum elevation reaches 2,430 m. and minimum elevation is 430 m.).

National (km²) 505 987
Regional (km²) 8 026

Transports - Roads, rail lines, air accessibility

© Fundación Madrimasd para el Conocimiento The great urban nuclei of the suburbs of the capital have developed surrounded by the six main free radial highways linking central Madrid and all the Spain's coastal regions. Due to the significant problems of traffic in these routes, recently four radial toll highways have been built. When leaving the community and crossing the mountain range of Guadarrama (with the most crowded tunnel of Spain), one of the original six radial roads articulating Spain last century (A-6), has been transformed into toll highway.

Four free highways exist for circumvallation of central city: municipal M-30, State-owned M-40 and M-50 and the regional M-45.Other significant highways are those going to Colmenar, to Toledo and the highways to access the Barajas airport.

There were 532 kilometers of highways in 2001 in the region - representing an increase of more than 25% compared to 1990 - and 2 710 kilometers of other roads. The region has an ample network of highways, being all of gratuitous use with the exception of the radial alternatives of toll. Still in 2001, 3.5 million cars were registered in the Madrid region, of which 2.9 million private cars.

The Madrid Region is the centre of the Spanish railway network. The region is connected to the main cities across the Peninsula and Europe, in many cases by high speed train (Barcelona, Malaga, Seville, Zaragoza, Valladolild and Toledo). In the Community of Madrid there are eleven railway lines to serve the whole of the metropolitan area, with a radial plan. A railroad line reaches the slopes of the Sierra de Guadarrama and crosses the mountain range. Rail network measured 601.8 kilometers in 2001, a slight decrease compared to the 644 kilometers available in 1996. 82% of this network is electrified. The underground network is 322 km in length and is used by 650 million passengers a year. It is the third largest network in Europe and the fourth in the world. It has 12. lines and 318 stations. The network is currently being extended and provides public transport service to 90% of the regional population.

The Madrid Region has an international airport, Barajas, which is the main airport of the Iberian Peninsula and is the fourth largest in Europe in terms of number of passengers (45.5 million in 2006). The new Terminal 4, which opened in February 2006, will allow for an increase up to 70 million passengers a year. Barajas is an important link between Latin America, Europe and North Africa (30% of all flights between Europe and South America, and 41% between Central America, fly via Madrid). Its location, at just 12 kilometres from the city centre and the connections by underground and bus, provide travellers with fast, economical and easy access. Other airports of smaller importance in the region are those of Cuatro Vientos, Getafe and Torrejón.

The geographical location of the Madrid Region, in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula, and the radial transport system ensure efficient transportation and communication with the rest of the country. The largest logistics space in Spain (24.5 million m2) is found within the Madrid Region with inter-modal facilities, infrastructures and services. There are more than 15 specialised transport platforms including the Transport Centre, the Dry Port of Coslada, the Air Cargo Centre of Barajas, Mercamadrid, the Madrid Transport Centre, the railway stations of Vicálvaro, Abroñigal and Villaverde, Neissa Sur, CADSI, the Carpetania Industrial Logistics Centre, the Prologis Alcalá Park and the San Agustín de Guadalix Logistics Zone, among many others. The Dry Port of Coslada, located near Barajas International Airport, has a surface area of 120,000 m2 (which will soon reach 140,000 m2) and connects the Madrid Region by train with the four major ports of Spain: Algeciras, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. More than 27,000 containers pass through the Dry Port of Coslada every year and it is the first inland maritime customs site of Europe in terms of volume. Among future projects, we highlight the Móstoles Atlantic Gateway Logistics Centre, as well as a new Dry Port in Villarejo de Salvanés.


The Madrid Region has 6,2 million inhabitants (2007). The population of the region has grown considerably and has very diverse origins (more than 1 million of the inhabitants, almost 16% of the total, are foreigners).

2002 2004 2007 Trend
National (millions) 40,964 42,345 45,283 Increasing
Regional (millions) 5,426 5,705 6,189 Increasing

The life expectancy of the Madrid Region citizens is one of the highest in the world: 84.9 years for women and for men it is 78.3 years. The Madrid Region is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe with a ratio of 743 inhabitants per km2. Of the 179 municipalities located in the Madrid Region, the most populated is the capital city of Madrid, with more than 3 million inhabitants, which is also the most populated city in Spain.

Main towns

Due to the specific geographic features of the Region the great majority of the population is concentrated in the capital and surrounding metropolitan area. Towns larger than 100,000 inhabitants are:

Municipality Total population Foreign population %
Madrid (City) 3 233,869 550,804 17.03
Móstoles 208,519 25,059 12.02
Alcalá de Henares 201,703 36,357 18.03
Fuenlabrada 200,279 25,955 12.92
Leganés 187,162 21,279 11.29
Alcorcón 175,624 22,697 12.92
Getafe 166,040 23,948 14.42
Torrejón de Ardoz 114,228 21,452 18.78
Alcobendas 109,601 17,518 15.98

Source: Regional Ministry for Immigration (January 2007)


The Madrid Region has a dynamic economy that is in constant growth, and which in 2006 represented more than 17.7% of Spain's GDP. Madrid's economy is particularly focused on the services sector, which generates more than 78% of the regional GDP. It is also one of the European regions with the highest employment creation ratio (a 4.5 % increase in 2006) and the highest economic growth (4.6% in 2006).

The Madrid Region has 6,2 million inhabitants (2007). The population of the region has grown considerably and has very diverse origins (more than 1 million of the inhabitants, almost 16% of the total, are foreigners).

2003 2005 2006 Trend
National per capita (euro) 17650 20933 22260 Increasing
Regional per capita (euro) 23541 27220 28727 Increasing
National global (Millions euro) 782929 908450 980.954 Increasing
Regional global (Millions euro) 138612 159.939 171.988 Increasing

Employment (Global figures and main sectors)

The Madrid Region has an excellent human capital situation. The active population is 3,241,500 people (4th quarter 2006) and the activity rate is 64.38%.

Global figures

2002 2005 Trend
National (% of employment) 86,1% 90,8% Increasing
Regional (% of employment) 88,4% 93,6% Increasing

Sectorial perspective - Main industrial sectors

Some high-tech sectors are increasing the regional GDP: Telecommunications, Electronics, Pharmaceuticals, Defence, and Aeronautics. In recent years certain manufacturing industries in the southern industrial belt of the capital have suffered badly, enabling companies involved in high-tech processes in the north and north-east to prosper considerably. At present, basic industry is overshadowed by the manufacturing industry, there being a high technological level which has been facilitated by the presence of many R&D; centres. At the same time, it is noticeable that industry is increasingly specialized in high-demand sectors (aircraft, electronics, pharmaceuticals, precision instruments and electrical engineering) or medium-demand (paper, transport and mechanical engineering).

The Madrid Region also has a network of technology clusters that promote those sectors that are economically strategic to the region: Aerospace and Aeronautics, Audiovisuals, Automotive, Biotechnology, Security, Finance, Logistics and Health.

Last updated: 2009-12-10