Safety and cleanliness revealed as main concerns for Barcelona residents

Worries over tourism and traffic increase after return of visitors and pre-pandemic lifestyles

Safety remains the number one concern for residents in Barcelona
Safety remains the number one concern for residents in Barcelona / Gerard Escaich Folch

Gerard Escaich Folch | Barcelona

July 4, 2022 03:40 PM

Safety remains the number one concern for residents in Barcelona, while the city’s cleanliness is second, according to the biannual survey of city residents (Baròmetre de Barcelona) published on Monday.

Some 22% of respondents consider the city has a security problem, up by 1.2 percentage points from the last survey released in December. Cleanliness became the second most worrying trouble in Barcelona, featuring on 11.5% of residents’ answers, 0.3 percentage points less than in the previous edition of the study.

While policy management was 2020’s second-biggest concern, it now only worries 7.7% of city residents, but still remains ahead of difficulties with housing access (7.3%), tourism, and traffic.

In fact, tourism (6.1%) and traffic (5.7%) are the problems that increase the most as both have spiked up to three percentage points in comparison with the previous survey. 

Experts believe that the recovery of pre-pandemic lifestyles and the return of visitors in Barcelona, are the main reasons behind the spike. May of this year saw around 1.4 million foreign visitors come for a holiday to Catalonia.

Inflation and Ukraine war

Current affairs are also part of the problems in Barcelona such as inflation and the consequences of the war in Ukraine. 

"A lot of people are aware of inflation and are changing their daily habits or taking some measures to have a smaller impact at home," Màrius Boada, director of the Barcelona data office, said during a press conference. 

Another topic that worries residents of the Catalan capital is the effects the war in Ukraine, as 42% of the respondents said they were very worried about it and 41.2% say they were worried.

The conflict has a significant impact on the economy for 36.3% of the population, and 43.4% consider it has had some effect.

On the other hand, almost 77% of the respondents believe the welcoming of refugees has been a positive initiative.

On traveling for the summer, 31.1% of the respondents will remain in Barcelona, down from the 40.4% of those who stayed in 2020. 

This year, 17.3% of residents will travel overseas, while two years ago it was only 3.2%. In that year, 35.% visited other parts of Catalonia, 9 percentage points more than the amount that will stay in the territory this year.

Of the around 30% of respondents that will remain in the city, up to 57.8% is due to economic reasons.

Politicians ranked by citizens

The city council has been doing a very good job in the estimation of 38.9% of residents, 1.5 percentage points higher than in December. Meanwhile, 47.1% consider the council to be doing a bad job, 3 percentage points less than six months ago.

Regarding the Catalan government, 36% believe that they are doing it right, while 44.4% disagree. The majority of urban residents, 54.9%, say the Spanish government is not doing a proper job, while just 25.1% claim they are doing well.

In Barcelona, the opposition leader and head of the pro-independence Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) party in the city, Ernest Maragall, is the most well-ranked politician among residents, with a mark of 5.2 out of 10.

City mayor Ada Colau has dropped in popularity by 0.1 marks, and is now ranked at 4.1, while deputy mayor Jaume Collboni from the Socialist Party (PSC) gets the same mark as before, of 4.7.

If local elections were held now, Ada Colau’s party, the left-wing Barcelona En Comú (BCN-EC) would win, followed by ERC and then by the PSC. 

59% of the respondents, however, did not share their political beliefs or do not know who they will vote for.