The survey sample
The 20 question survey was completed by 850 people from 26 nations that have lived in Barcelona for at least 3 months.
How would you rate the reception from the local Catalans of Barcelona?
4 out of 5 (79%) consider it satisfactory, good, or excellent. The results to this question are as follows: Excellent (13%), Good (37%), Satisfactory (29%), Bad (18%), Very bad (3%).
Narrowing down the results by country, only two nations stray away from the average and are more satisfied than the rest, with 97% of Russians and 96% of Polish expats considering the reception from Catalans to be either satisfactory, good, or excellent. The United Kingdom was only slightly above the average at 81%. Other nations were France at 82%. Below average satisfaction with the local welcome came from Germany at 76%, as well as Italy, Sweden, and Argentina at 73%.
Respondents also answered a question that we analyzed in our previous press release: What do you like least about Barcelona?. We revealed that the biggest dislikes of Barcelona were levels of mass tourism (34%), locals' character (26%), pollution (19%), and economy (16%).
Although 1 in 4 (26%) of respondents dislike local character, this does not contradict with the 4 out of 5 (79%) who were at least satisfied with the way they were welcomed. The 21% who were not happy with their welcome, would be more probable to state local character as a dislike, and certainly amongst the 29% of those who rated their welcome as satisfactory there would be those who, while fine with their reception, still aren't content with local character.Some comments on the subject include
"Since the beginning I have a fantastic reception (despite only speaking Spanish at first). Warm character and welcoming." / "The people are very closed off and it’s a struggle to enter their circles. Once in, they open up, but it’s very difficult." / "I’ve never had any bad experiences with Catalans" / "It can vary a lot. Some Catalans are actually hostile to newcomers and tourists." / "I came 15 years ago to a Catalan college and I was received like a princess!!"
What do you like most about Barcelona?
Respondents were asked to give in order their top 3 liked aspects about Barcelona. Mentioned in the top 3's were quality of life (70%), climate (67%), culture (43%), sea (42%), locals' character (30%), nightlife (17%) and food (12%). When asked to pick only one favourite, results follow the same order but with a larger difference in percentage, with quality of life (43%), climate (25%), and culture (12%). The rest of the answers receiving below 10% each.
Looking by country, exceptions come again from Russia and Poland, where Barcelona's climate was more favoured than quality of life. While respondents from the UK also favoured quality of life, it was the city's culture that came second. More information is shown on the infographic below on how various nations responded to this question.
How would you rate the quality of life in Barcelona?
Barcelona's quality of life was rated as excellent by 32% of respondents, good by 55%, satisfactory by 12%, bad by 1%, and very bad by no-one. Almost every single migrant (99%) evaluates the quality of life here to be satisfactory or higher. This result clearly shows why quality of life here is the favourite aspect of the city by many. Looking by nations the results are similar. The few responses that rated bad for Barcelona's quality of life came from other parts of Spain, Germany, and Italy.
Respondents had the ability to leave an optional comment to better clarify their concept of quality of life. Comments include leisure, city infrastructure, people, availability of restaurants, and more. Here are some responses:
"Optimal combination of climate, infrastructure, open-mindedness, and cultural offering." / "Perfect balance between the virtues of a mediterranean country and the organization of a north European country." / "Sea, mountains, and quantity of public transport..." / "A savoury blend of a cosmopolitan and international city, and a typical Spanish town with its customs and traditions" / "From the climate, to the international environment, leisure and unlimited number of restaurants." / "City always moving, pleasant climate, affordable food and always new places to discover."
Factors which hold back quality of life in Barcelona include the economy, lack of work, bureaucracy, and mass tourism.
"I'd put excellent, but with the pollution and waves of tourists along La Rambla, I can't" / "Draconian bureaucracy and economic policies make a potentially perfect lifestyle much less than perfect." / "Work situation became very bad over 5 years." / "Excellent 9 years ago" / "Good in the low tourist season (November - March)" / " For some things it's great but others like work it isn't" / "It got worst these last 4-5 years, before I'd have said excellent." / "Excellent if the salaries were higher."
How is the cost of living in Barcelona compared to your place of origin?
42% believe that Barcelona is cheaper than their place of origin, 25% say it's about the same, 28% put it higher, and 5% were not sure. The only three nations that the majority thought cost of living was higher were Poland (65%), Germany (55%), and Russia (46%). The UK was the nation that most rated cost of living in Barcelona to be lower (81%). Sweden was the only nation to say it was the same (55%).
What is the best neighbourhood to live in Barcelona?
The three most voted neighbourhoods are known for their own unique characteristics and are found outside the typical tourist routes. Many left a comment to clarify why. Of Barcelona's 21 areas, the top 7 were Gràcia (18%), Poblenou (10%), Sarrià - Sant Gervasi (9%), Born - Sant Pere (9%), Eixample Dret (8%), Eixample Esquerre (7%), and Gòtic [The Gothic Quarter] (5%).
There exists the idea that Gràcia is the best neighbourhood to live in, preferred by 18% - double that of Poblenou which was 10%. According to nationality, it's most favoured by Brits at 31%, then French at 22%, Swedes, Argentinians, and Italians (18%), Germans (17%), and Russians (10%). Russians prefer Sarria - Sant Gervasi (21%) and Swedes prefer Poblenou (27%).
Why Gràcia? It's generally a tranquil neighbourhood with little traffic and tourism compared to other parts. It's very well-connected via public transport, has a unique character with a nice ambiance along its streets, and has a good commercial, cultural, and leisure offering.
"Neighbourhood with nice atmosphere, a lot of cultural life day and night. Alternative stores. Little traffic as many streets are one-way." / "It is a neighbourhood that has nice architecture and an atmosphere of a small town in the centre of a metropolis." / "Because it is a very cozy and local area, where you will find the real local culture with a lot of small bars and shops, without tourists." / "It feels central despite not being in the city centre - there are good transport connections. It's full of bars and shops. / "A district with everything you could possibly need that still retains an authentic feel in most parts."
Why Poblenou? It's also a calm neighbourhood and is well connected with the city centre It has beaches and green spaces in a small-town atmosphere that's ideal for families.
"Clean neighbourhood. Open spaces, beaches, and places to park." / "Authentic, family-friendly, close to the sea, not far from the centre" / "Not in the city centre so less noisy, close to the beach, many amenities" / "Close to work and beaches."
Why Born – Sant Pere? Neighbourhood in the old city-centre with a lively atmosphere, charming architecture and great gastronomic offering. Not that far from the beach.
"I like the areas made lively by people and the architecture is pleasant." / "It's the most beautiful district" / "It has small stores, lots of squares, and good restaurants. Close to the park and the sea." / "Restaurants, great vibe, and great places" / "Nice cosy neighbourhood."
Why Sarrià - Sant Gervasi? This is the high-standing part of the city with a strong sensation of safety. It's calm with lots of green zones and has decent transport connections with the centre.
" Just outside the centre but quiet and secluded. Buildings are in good condition and lots of green areas." / "There's less traffic." / "Compared to other districts, it's safer." / "Calm but not too calm. Safe..." / "The neighbourhood has everything and is peaceful."
Why Eixample? This is the economic centre of Barcelona. It has a mix of calm and touristic areas. There are lots of services, cultural offerings, and places to pass time.Eixample Dret
"It's a central part of the city but far from the chaos of the old city." / "It has an incredible range of clubs and supermarkets and is more beautiful than the other districts." / "It's possible to walk to both the sea and the centre but still be close to neighborhoods like Gracia. It's quiet."
"The proximity of the sea, open and green spaces." / "It's where I live and for me it's perfect!" / "It is a quiet and very local neighbourhood without many tourists." / "It's central but not saturated with people"
Which tradition from Barcelona has impressed you the most?
1 in 3 (33%) find that Sant Jordi is the most impressive local tradition, followed by the Castellers with 1 in 5 (18%). Then joint third are Correfocs and National Catalonia Day with 8%. Others include Caga Tió (5%), Castanyada (1%) and the Sardana (1%). 6% left their own suggestions which include Sant Joan, the Calçotada, Festes Majors and La Mercè. 16% did not yet know any of the local traditions.
Taking a look by nationality, Sant Jordi was the most impressive amongst the majority of nationalities. The exceptions include the UK, who were more impressed with Castellers; France, where they mostly did not know any local traditions; and other parts of Spain, who were dazzled by National Catalonia Day.
About the survey and study sample
The survey was carried out between the 1 June and 31 December 2015. 88% of respondents used an online form and the remaining 12% printed paper.
Some of the participants have been living in Barcelona for more than 3 months, but the majority of respondents have been here for more than 2 years. The percentages are 3 months - year (30%), between 1-2 years (15%), and more than 2 years (55%)
The general characteristics of the sample are
- Age: 18 - 24 years (18.04%), 25 - 34 years (47.82%), 35+ years (34.14%)
- Sex: Female (64.29%), Male (35.71%)
- Level of studies: Secondary education (6.30%), College (advanced/pre-university) (19.37%), University (53.03%), Post-graduate (21.31%)
Motive for coming and intention to stay:
- Motive for moving to Barcelona: Personal relation (24%); university placement/apprenticeship (17%), found work (17%), studying (11%), looking for work (10%), other motives (21%).
- Intention to stay in Barcelona. Very few want to leave: Plan to stay (61.19%), I'd like to stay but I can't (10.16%), I don't know (21.89%), Don't plan to stay (6.77%).
Full infographic including reception from Catalans, most liked about Barcelona, quality of life, favourite Barcelona neighbourhoods, and favourite tradition
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