In terms of surface area, the Region of Murcia is the ninth largest of the Spanish autonomous communities. The Murcia region lies at the centre of the Spanish Mediterranean coastal arch, between the longitudes 37º 23' - 38º 45'N and the latitudes 0º 39' - 2º 20'W taking as reference the Greenwich Meridian.
The arrival of the XVIII century hailed a new period of growth where urban splendour - contemporary with the artistic development of the famed Murcian baroque - was accompanied by the completion of the Cathedral in Murcia and the construcción of the Arsenal in Cartagena, evident signs of the civil and military prosperity. With the coming of the XIX century, History's ups and downs brought a new period of crisis to the Region coinciding with a long succession of floods and droughts, and it was only when the second half of the century was well under way that a new relaunching of the economy in the area took place, thanks to a process of industrialization powered mainly by mining wealth derived from its rich ore deposits. However, the depletion of natural resources, the weakness of an economy based mainly on industry funded by foreign capital, together with instability provoked by revolutionary riots and the short-sightedness of commerce unwilling to direct its attention towards external markets, together wove a precarious panorama with which to initiate the XX century.
The number of days per year with clear skies is 120-150, with approximately 2,800 sun-hours per annum. In general rain is scarce throughout the region (approx. 300-350 mm/year), falling mainly in the spring (April) and autumn (October), leaving the summer an eminently dry season.
The region of Murcia is characterised by certain climatic differences which may lead to variation in the above-mentioned figures. These variations depend on the orientation and exposure to the dominant winds, the distance from the sea and the configuration of relief.
Due to these factors, the temperature differences between the coast and the interior are much more extreme in the winter. On the coast temperatures tend never to fall below 10ºC, whilst inland at higher altitudes they may not exceed 6ºC. The latter areas show a higher average annual rainfall, which reaches 600 mm/yr.
Between the years 1991 and 2001, the population rose by 13.8% in comparison with an average figure of 5.8% for the whole of Spain, according to data supplied by the Ministerio de Administraciones Públicas.
At the present time, the density of population for the year 2011 is 129.9 inhabitants per square kilometre, which is superior to the national average of 93.9.
The Region of Murcia has thus today become an area with a net demographic influx, due to the fact that since the 70's the number of immigrants received has been greater than the number of people who have emigrated. Interprovincial exchange occurs betwen Murcia and Alicante, Madrid, Albacete, Barcelona, Valencia and Almería.
Special mention must be made of the important increase in the number of foreigners who have chosen to settle in the Region of Murcia as an ideal place to spend their retirement, in privileged surroundings and enjoying an exceptional climate.