Around 4.5 million people usually speak Catalan today, half a million less than in 2005. This is the main conclusion of a report (link in Catalan) by the Plataforma per la Llengua, an NGO that promotes Catalan language and considers it as a tool of social cohesion. The study shows that out of the 13.936.235 people living in Catalan-speaking areas, 4.517.706 use Catalan as their main language, 32.4% of the total – a figure that rises to 42.6% when counting those who say they speak Catalan and another language, like Spanish, just as much. In both Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, 36% of inhabitants prefer Catalan, while 28% do in Valencia.

that works to defend the rights of Catalan speakers and promote the Catalan language.

Western Catalonia, including Lleida, is the area where Catalan is used the most (49.6%), followed by Andorra (37.9%). On the other end of the ranking, very few people prioritize this language in Northern Catalonia, now administratively in France (1.3%) and Alghero (9.1%). The survey also states that 8 in 10 Catalan speakers switch languages when someone speaks to them in Spanish. Politeness and being respectful (43.5%) are the main reasons given for doing so by poll respondents. Other reasons include thinking the other person will not understand them well in Catalan (16.3%). “We need a change in mindset,” the president of Plataforma per la Llengua, Òscar Escuder, said in a press conference.

Other reports

The study mentions other reports, like the Catalan government’s latest on the topic, from 2018, that found the Ebre river region (81.2%) and Andorra (72.2%) to be among those where Catalan is used always or often. Meanwhile, 53.1% of the Barcelona area population never or hardly ever use it.

Plataforma per la Llengua has also asked whether the Catalan government protects the language more than at the beginning of the push for independence, in the early 2010s, and while 41.7% of those surveyed say more efforts were made before 2010, 30.9% say it is the other way around.

Meanwhile, almost 7 in 10 say authorities should guarantee the presence of Catalan in streaming platforms such as Netflix. This comes as the three main Catalan-speaking territories – Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic islands – have come together to defend the language in the audiovisual sector.

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