Why going for coffee beats out cultural activities in Spanish society

A new survey reveals that seven out of 10 Spaniards “never” visit a museum or a library, while one in five goes to a bar, restaurant or café every day

A waitress serving customers in a Madrid bar.
A waitress serving customers in a Madrid bar.LUIS SEVILLANO

Given the choice of having a beer or a cup of coffee and going to see a Caravaggio exhibition, most Spaniards don't have to think twice. At least seven out of 10 “never” go to a museum or library according to a recent survey carried out by the Center for Sociological Investigation (CIS). On the other hand, 60.5% go to a bar, café or restaurant at least once a week. Of these, one in five say they go almost every day, mostly to meet with friends or family.

Almost half of Spaniards surveyed put their level of happiness at a seven or eight out of 10

The survey, which was based on 2,484 interviews in 48 provinces in early June, focused on changes in Spaniard’s habits and preferred hangouts, as well as political and economic tendencies, revealing that while cafés, bars, restaurants, markets and parks are the cornerstones of Spanish social life, six out of 10 Spaniards never go to sports centers, pubs or discos and almost five out of 10 no longer go to the cinema. Neither do they go to bookshops – perhaps hardly surprising considering that, according to the CIS, 39.4% of Spaniards haven't read a book in the last year while 7.1% have read no more than one.

In general, Spaniards feel happy; almost half of those surveyed put their level of happiness at a seven or eight out of 10. Only 10.6% feel completely happy while 12.8% gave their happiness a nine. Meanwhile, just 7% put their level of happiness below five. This ties in with the fact that more than 56% never got bored and 68% never felt alone.

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When questioned on religion, 70% considered themselves Catholic; 13.9% said they were agnostic and 10.9% described themselves as atheist. However, 60% said they never went to church.

When it came to communicating via WhatsApp, 73% said they had used the app in the last six months while 47.5% had been on social networks.

Interestingly, despite the huge amount of time spent chatting in bars and restaurants, when asked how often they tend to criticize others, 27.8% said they never did; 42.5% said they didn’t really, and only 15.3% recognized that they did.

English version by Heather Galloway.


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