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Survey on Language Uses of the Population. 2018

In 2018, 94.4% of the population of Catalonia above 15 years of age understood Catalan, 81.2% were able to speak it, 85.5% were able to read it and 65.3% were able to write it. These figures indicate a rise of 3.1 points in reading skills and one of 4.9 points in writing skills in comparison with 2013. Consequently, the number of people with all the language skills in Catalan also increased by 4.5 points and, in absolute terms, by almost 364,000 people.

Catalan is the first language for 31.5% of those over 15 years of age, while Spanish is for 52.7%, and both Catalan and Spanish is the first language for 2.8% of the population. On the other hand, 10.7% use other languages as their first language, the most frequent being Arabic, Romanian and Galician.

46.6% of the population considers Spanish to be their language of identification, whereas Catalan is considered as such by 36.3% and both languages by 6.9%.

Catalan is the habitual language of 36.1% of people above 15 years of age, while Spanish is the usual one for 48.6%, and both languages for 7.4% of the population. The habitual language for people born in Catalonia is mostly Catalan (55.4%), while Spanish is the one usually used by those born in the rest of the State (81.0%). By areas, Catalan is the majority primary language in five of the eight territorial areas of Catalonia: Les Terres de l’Ebre (72.2%), the Central Counties (59.6%), Ponent (57.0%), L’Alt Pirineu i Aran (58.8%) and the Girona Counties (54.1%). In El Camp de Tarragona the figure stands at 40.4%, in El Penedès at 38.9% and in the Metropolitan Area at 27.5%.

In respect to the knowledge of other languages, that of English has risen by 5.6 percentage points in respect to that of five years prior. In 2018, 45.8% of the population understood it, 37.5% knew how to speak it, 41.8% could read it and 36.5% could write it. By age group, the youngest age bracket (15 to 24) has the highest English level, surpassing 70% in all skill areas. The age groups with the highest proportions of those able to speak French are those between 45 and 64, standing 22%.

The linguistic usages between family members indicates that intergenerational linguistic transmission process in Catalonia favours Catalan, as the use of Catalan by the oldest child (38.5%) is higher than that by the father (32%) or mother (31.4%), and higher still that the maternal (29%) or paternal (29.5%) grandparents.

36.3% of those currently studying use only or mostly Catalan with their classmates, 32.8% use only or mostly Spanish, while 19.1% use both languages indifferently.

With regard to other areas of use, citizens use more Catalan than Spanish in their relations with the Administration of the Catalan Government (45.8%) and the local Administration (47.5%). The figure stands at 33% in commercial transactions and at 31.6% in the State Administration in Catalonia. In the case of mobile messages (a new question in 2018), Spanish (43.2%) is used more than Catalan (23.6%). This use is the one in which the difference between the two languages is the greatest.