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Under-25s 'more worried about air pollution than the economy'
YOUNG adults in Spain are now more worried about air pollution than the state of the country's economy, according to an ongoing social attitudes study.
Ulises, a sociology research section of daily newspaper 20minutos, published an IberCaja-financed report by MyWord which found that respondents aged 18 to 24 were more concerned about climate change and air quality than national economic health and even poverty.
Across the board, those who took part in the survey gave the economy a 7.69 out of 10 for how preoccupied they were – slightly higher than the 7.54 they gave to air pollution.
But adults under 25, although they showed similar concerns to the rest about air quality – 7.55 out of 10 – this was somewhat higher than the 7.13 for the state of the economy and 7.12 for poverty they gave.
This may be partly because a high number of under-25s are often still in full-time education and have less contact with financial issues, although the score out of 10 is still fairly significant, meaning they may well be thinking ahead to when they need to try to forge a career and hope to buy or rent a home.
Respondents were asked which parties they either voted for habitually or would vote for in the event of an imminent election.
Those who voted PSOE (socialists) were the only interviewees who were more concerned about air pollution than inequality, giving the former an 8.04 out of 10 and the latter a 7.98, and were more worried about both than about the economy, to which they gave a 7.96.
Podemos voters gave a 7.94 to air pollution, 7.88 to the economy, but their concerns about inequality and poverty far outweigh any other issues, with an 8.25 out of 10.
Ciudadanos and PP voters were most concerned about the economy, followed by inequality, and then climate change.
By place of residence, the only area of the country where people of all ages and political persuasions are more troubled about air pollution than the economy is the metropolitan area of Barcelona, where scores of 7.72 and 7.7 out of 10 respectively.
The Ulises report, for which the field research was carried out at the end of 2017, also sought opinions on how far respondents believed air pollution affected their place of residence and them as individuals.
On a scale of 0 to 10, women say they are the most-affected personally, at 6.83, compared with men who gave a 6.2, and also believe their towns suffer from pollution more than men do, with scores of 6.88 and 6.37 respectively.
The 65-and-over age group are the least concerned about the effects of air pollution on their towns, with a score of 5.31, and themselves, giving a 5.28.
Scores of 7.98 and 7.58 were given on average for Madrid and Barcelona cities, but were much lower for parts of Aragón and the rest of Catalunya with the exception of the metropolitan area.
The average across Spain for those who are worried about the effects of air pollution on them as individuals is 6.52, rising to 7.5 for those living in the city of Madrid and 7.2 in Barcelona.
Logically, levels of concern about how pollution affects people are higher in provincial capital cities – typically 7.12 out of 10 – than in smaller towns and in villages, where the average score is 5.87.
An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 people die every year in Spain as a direct consequence of air pollution, although health problems that do not result in death are said to be even more numerous.
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