What Is Life Really Like In Catalonia, Spain?

In June 2016, Spain held a much anticipated general election, following six months of political gridlock and no ruling party in parliament Spain’s right-leaning parties secured the most votes, an outcome that many argued was the result of the left’s lack of unity on the question of a Catalonian referendum

Catalonia is an autonomous and culturally distinct region that has been vying for independence since the 19th century So what is life like in Catalonia and why does it want to split from Spain? Although Catalonia is technically a part of Spain, similar to the country’s 16 other autonomous communities, the region has its own unique culture, and even its own language: Catalan Roughly 7-and-a-half million people, or about 16 percent of Spain’s population, live in Catalonia More than half of Catalans live in greater Barcelona, which is Catalonia’s largest city, as well as its political and economic hub Compared to the rest of Spain, Barcelona is culturally and ethnically diverse

In fact, about a quarter of the city’s population are not Catalonian, and as a result, life in Barcelona can look quite different than life in the Catalonian countryside For example, more than a third of Catalonians use Catalan as their primary language However in Barcelona, the same can be said for only about 2 percent of the population But both Barcelona and rural Catalonia are popular among tourists, as the region offers lush, mountainous landscapes, beaches and castles Catalonians are also known for their unique cuisine, with dishes featuring fish, olive oil, mushrooms and dried fruits

Interestingly, Catalonians are known to vacation within their own region, typically going to the same place every year Given the popularity of Catalonia, it should come as no surprise that region is also Spain’s economic powerhouse, as its GDP of more than $200 billion dollars is higher than any other autonomous region Many of Catalonia’s industries, like construction, services and food production, heavily rely on tourism As a result, the region has not seen much of the economic hardship that has plagued Spain in recent years In fact, as the country’s GDP plummeted and unemployment reached nearly 25 percent in 2015, Catalonia’s economy simultaneously grew, and unemployment dropped

Catalonia’s thriving economy is at the center of its efforts to break away from Spain Catalonian separatists argue that not only are their taxpayers keeping the other regions afloat during tough times, but that those poorer regions are actually allocated more public services than Catalonia According to a 2014 poll, roughly 80 percent of Catalans want independence But in light of the recent election, and continued division among the Left over whether to allow a referendum, the region may never see full autonomy So while Catalonia is stuck under Spanish rule, it’s important to know just how much influence Spain wields as a whole

So, how powerful is Spain? Find out in this video! Thanks for watching Seeker Daily, don’t forget to like and subscribe for new videos every day

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