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DESI

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that summarizes relevant indicators on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU Member States, across four main dimensions:
1
Human Capital
2
Connectivity
3
Integration of Digital Technology
4
Digital Public Services

Each year, the DESI country reports combine quantitative evidence from more than 30 indicators across those four dimensions of the index, with country-specific policy insights and best practices. This helps Member States identify those areas where priority action is needed, such as thematic chapters, which provide EU-wide analysis in the digital transformation domains.

 

DESI 2021 has been adjusted to reflect the two major policy initiatives set to have an impact on the digital transformation in the EU in the coming years: the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) and the Digital Decade Compass. Thus, in order to adapt the DESI to the four cardinal points and the objectives established in the framework of the Digital Compass, to improve the methodology and to take into account the latest technological and political advances, the structure of DESI has been adjusted. From this year onwards, the indicators are structured around the aforementioned four main areas of the EU’s Digital Decade.

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Overview of Spain in the DESI

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In 2021 Spain ranked 9th out of 27 EU Member States, with a score of 57.4, almost seven points above the European average, and showing a significative improvement since 2016. The country has improved its performance by more than 5 percentage points compared to DESI 2020 and surpasses large European economies such as Germany, France or Italy.

 

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Tabla EN
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Índice EN
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Evolución DESI EN
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DESI 2021 EN
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Improvement of the country in the four dimensions of analysis

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In 2021 Spain has improved its score and exceeds the EU 27 average in each of the four dimensions that make up the DESI, with a positive evolution since 2016:

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1. Human capital

Spain ranks 12th, with a score of 48, surpassing the EU 27 average. Almost half of the Spanish population lacks basic digital skills, but the trend is positive compared to previous years, and there is also an increase in the number of specialists and graduates in information and communication technologies.
Improving human capital is a primary goal for the government. Promoting scientific and technological progress and investing in education and training are two of the objectives of the roadmap, and actions have been planned to strengthen citizens' digital, scientific and technological skills.
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Gráfica Cap Humano EN
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The development of digital skills in citizens should be addressed by emphasizing the reduction of the gender gap and the increase of women working in the digital sector. Only 1.6% of women employed in Spain work in the ICT sector, compared to 5.6% of men, according to the Women in Digital Scoreboard 2021(WiD 2021), the scoreboard that studies the gender digital divide at European level, which is included in the DESI project.

Still, the country has been narrowing the digital divide between men and women in recent years. Spain currently ranks 8th on the WiD’s female human capital scoreboard, with 59 points, 6 above the European Union average.

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Gráfica mujeres 2021 EN
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2. Connectivity

With 62 points, Spain occupies the third position in the DESI ranking in Europe and exceeds by almost 12 points the European average. This is due, among other reasons, to the deployment of very high-capacity networks, as well as the implementation of ultra-fast broadband connections.
While Spain has a high performance in connectivity and has significantly improved the implementation of optical fiber networks, the large digital divide between rural and urban areas persists.
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Gráfica Conectividad EN
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3. Integration of Digital Technology

Spain occupies the 16th place in relation to the integration of digital technologies by companies, with 39 points, a score very close to the EU average.
Digital Spain 2025 proposes a series of ambitious measures and actions to make progress in this area, such as the SMEs Digitalization Plan 2021-2025 or the National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence among others. The Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, for its part, has prioritized digitalization measures for companies, especially SMEs, to which 25% of the total budget is allocated for the digital sector.
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Gráfica Integración EN
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4. Digital Public Services

In this field, Spain ranks 7th in the EU with 81 points, well above the European average of 68. The trend continues to be positive. This is due to the implementation of a digital strategy in the General State Administration that allows a high level of online interaction between the public administration, citizens and businesses.
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Gráfica Servicios EN