Almost 50% of Spaniards only speak Spanish
A recent survey of 2489 people over the age of 18 by la Fundación de las Cajas de Ahorros (FUNCAS) has revealed that 49.7% of Spaniards have no knowledge of any other language other than Spanish. The survey shows that 67% of people from Castilla- La Mancha, 64.4% Andalucians and 63.7% of people from Cantabria only speak Spanish. In contrast just 23.7% of Catalans speak only one language followed by 24.6% of people from the Balearic Islands.
The study found that 42.3% of people from Madrid and 47.4% of people from Galicia only speak Spanish. People from Valencia (51.1%), Navarra (51.4%),the Canary Islands (54.2%), the Basque Country (55.6%), Aragon (55.7%), Castilla-Leon (56.3%), Murcia (57.7%), la Rioja (57.9%) and Extremadura (60.6%) were all found to be above the average for people who had no knowledge of foreign languages. The worst example was Asturias where 61.2% of people only spoke Spanish.
Income per capita and the coexistence of two official languages was found to influence knowledge of other languages something which was reflected in the cases of Castilla-La Mancha, Andalucía and Extremadura all of which have the lowest income per capita.
The study also showed that the education system has not been able to overcome barriers or is ineffective when it comes to teaching foreign languages.
As far as ages are concerned 42% of those questioned between the ages of 18 and 34 (the youngest group included in the study) had some knowledge of English. However, only 5% of those over the age of 25 said that they had an advanced level of English. Out of people over the age of 54 included in the study 55% admitted to having no interest in learning a foreign language and only 5% of those questioned between the ages of 55 and 64 years old knew English and 7% French.
Despite these results the survey found that 94% of Spaniards think that knowledge of foreign languages is a necessity in an increasingly globalized world.