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UNDERSTANDING SPANIARDS

REVEALED: The most and least polite cities in Spain

Do you live in the politest city in Spain? Or perhaps in the rudest? A new survey has revealed where in Spain residents are most considerate towards others and where they are the most ill-mannered.

Vigo politest city spain
Vigo is the most polite city in Spain according to a new study. Photo: Mstyslav Chernov / WikiCommons

Spaniards are known for being straight-talking and not overly polite, saying please and sorry (or por favor and perdón) far less in daily conversation than British people, for example.

That’s not to say that they’re rude by definition, they just have a different interpretation of what’s expected and warranted in certain social situations. In fact, Spaniards are far more likely to strike up a conservation with you in a queue than northern Europeans, and if someone is in trouble, they’re likely to jump in to help.

READ ALSO: Nine unwritten rules that explain how Spain works

However, when it comes to being considerate towards others and having good manners, not all Spaniards make the mark, and the inhabitants of some cities fare far worse than others.

According to a study by language learning site Preply, the politest cities in Spain are Vigo and A Coruña, both in Galicia in the rainy northwest of the country.

The stereotypical image of Galicians is that they can be closed-minded, superstitious, and untrusting, but also affectionate, helpful, strong and honest, and it could be that they’re more polite on average as well. 

Residents of Vigo and A Coruña were followed by the eastern coastal city of Valencia on the politeness podium.

READ ALSO – The good, the bad and the ugly: What are the regional stereotypes across Spain? 

For the study, 1,500 residents of the 19 most populated areas of Spain were interviewed and given various scenarios to find out how polite or inconsiderate they considered their neighbours to be.

Talking loudly on the phone, watching videos with the sound on and speaking in a loud voice were all given categories that could be ticked as being rude on public transport, while not slowing down for pedestrians or not letting other cars in were considered examples of rudeness when driving.

The most ill-mannered behaviours according to the study involve shouting in public, pushing into a queue or being rude to workers.

Once the answers were collated, each city was given a score from 1 to 10, with 1 being the politest and 10 being the rudest.

Vigo, situated in Galicia’s Rías Baixas was found to be the most polite with a score of 5.17, closely followed by A Coruña with a score of 5.18.  

Valencia came in third place with a score of 5.28, followed by Murcia-Orihuela with 5.30.

Other polite cities were Oviedo (5.31), Las Palmas (5.39), Zaragoza (5.45), Sevilla (5.45) and Cádiz (5.50). 

Madrid came in the middle of the list with a score of 5.53, while on the rude side of the list were Valladolid (5.58), Málaga (5.61), Barcelona (5.64), Palma de Mallorca (5.69) and Bilbao (5.73). 

On the far end of the scale, Santa Cruz de Tenerife was found to be the city with the least considerate inhabitants with a score of 6.06, followed by Granada with 5.95, Alicante-Elche with 5.81 and San Sebastián with 5.77.

New technology could be partly to blame for bad manners, as according to respondents the most frequent rude behaviour in Spain is being too absorbed in your phone in public (with a score of 6.31), followed by not greeting strangers (6.26) and watching videos on your phone in public (6.21).

Other behaviours that people considered to not be very civic were making noise in public (6.15) and not giving tips (6.05).

On that note, when it comes to leaving tips, the residents of the city of Valladolid were found to be the most generous.

In general, only 26.55 percent of respondents said they  usually leave a tip, while 28.08 percent only do so if they received excellent service. More than 19 percent of respondents confessed to never leaving any tip.

In Valladolid, the most generous city, people said they give an average of 10.18 percent of the bill, while in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the stingiest, they admitted to only giving 6.10 percent of the bill.

If there are any conclusions to be drawn overall about the study’s findings is that there aren’t huge differences between the most and least well-mannered cities in Spain.

Good manners and fear of offending others may not be intrinsic of the Spanish character as in other countries, but that doesn’t stop Spain from being a country with a strong emphasis on community.

READ MORE: The many ways Spaniards refer to your face when you’re being cheeky

Member comments

  1. Interesting that Granada lands on the unfriendly side of the divide. We live there and other than a couple of contractors who treated us like ignorant guiris (I know more about their trades than they knew, and they did not get the jobs) everyone has been fabulous. Of course, there is not much separation in the values in this survey.

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UNDERSTANDING SPANIARDS

Young Spaniards most emotionally attached to parents in EU

A new study has revealed that young Spanish people have a closer relationship with their parents than all their EU counterparts, but it’s a double-edged sword according to researchers.

Young Spaniards most emotionally attached to parents in EU

More than half of 18 to 34 year olds in Spain have a very close relationship with their parents, according to a new study by the Social Observatory of La Caixa Foundation. 

Specifically, 56.6 percent of Spaniards responded that they are “very close” to their parents, compared to the EU average of 37.9 percent.

Only the Portuguese come close in terms of this emotional proximity between parents and children.

The intensity of intergenerational relationships in Spain also stands out. While 49.2 percent of the EU’s young population interacts with their parents at least once a day, in Spain 70.6 percent of young adults make sure they speak to or see their folks on a daily basis.

“This may be due to the late age of emancipation of young Spaniards. While in the EU as a whole young people become independent  on average at 26.4 years of age, in Spain they do so at 30.3 years of age,” the report states.

READ ALSO: Why Spaniards leave the nest as late as 34

However, the report’s conclusions show that even among young Spaniards who’ve left the nest at a more normal age by global standards, relationships with their families remain close-knit.

The findings are perhaps less of a surprise for foreigners in Spain who see how Spanish parents tend to have a propensity to ‘spoil’ or help out their kids.

This can go from packing their adult children lunch in a Tupperware every day before they head to work, to paying for their studies so they don’t have to take out a loan or helping them get on the property ladder by buying them a flat.

READ ALSO: How interest-free loans between family members work in Spain

Can young Spaniards be blamed for embracing such a degree of pampering, keeping in mind the chronically high level of youth unemployment, their low wages and rising living costs? 

Researcher and co-author of the study Joan Verd has warned that this generosity from parents to offspring “replaces the resources that the State does not offer”.

“In other European countries the State makes much more determined policies to support youth, in southern Europe they do not exist or are much smaller. 

“The family replaces the State”, Verd concluded.

In his eyes, this tight family-orientated trend causes greater dependency among young Spaniards, which ends up meaning they cannot count on other sources of material and emotional support.

Ultimately, they’re more vulnerable compared to their EU counterparts and if they have “a poor personal relationship with parents or a disadvantaged family background” they tend to have no safety network, the researchers found.

Family is clearly ‘everything’ to the average Spaniard and close relationships with loved ones have helped millions in this country to get you through difficult times, to the point where it’s part of the national identity.

However, as the study suggests, many young people are almost ‘forced’ to get on well with their parents in order to ensure they get a leg up financially as they have “no secondary network” to call on. 

READ ALSO: The real reasons why Spaniards don’t want to have children

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