Before World War II, Andorra was still living to a large extent in the ways it had known since the Middle Ages. Most of its people were rather poor and lived off small-scale farming, sheep breeding, and smuggling. Even now, many families still continue to live in the old farmhouses, and life still focuses on the family and the Roman Catholic Church. International tourism and European integration since the 1950s thoroughly modernized the country within several decades and most Andorrans have turned from agriculture to family hotels and restaurants, store-keeping, and various other tourism-related services. Currently, with an affluent service-based economy and a low inflation rate of 1.62 percent in 1998, Andorrans enjoy very good and comparatively equitable living standards and very high life expectancy. No extreme cases of poverty or very large private fortunes are currently known. Due to the high number of working immigrants, attracted over the past several decades mostly by jobs in the services industry, housing in Andorra is now probably the most acute social issue. Although many locals still live in their traditional family houses, housing is currently scarce; the construction sector is not yet in a position to address the challenge adequately, and the tiny real estate market in Andorra remains highly speculative.
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|Note: Data are estimates.|
|SOURCE: Handbook of the Nations , 17th,18th, 19th and 20th editions for 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 data; CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online] for 2000 data.|