Olot, in the north of Catalonia, is the city with the greatest use of the Catalan language, with an index of 80/100. Santa Coloma, a city near Barcelona, has the least points, with only 51/100. Despite this significant difference, Catalan use in Santa Coloma and other cities with low rates of Catalan use in shops and institutions has increased significantly in recent years. These data are shown by Ofercat, a study made in more than 20 Catalan cities by the Language Policy Directorate of the Catalan Government. The study shows an important evolution in the use of Catalan: more traders and public employees are answering in Catalan despite it not being their usual language.
The study classified the cities into three groups: the ones that offer indexes higher than 70, such as Olot, la Seu d’Urgell, Tremp, Manresa, Figueres, Salt, Girona, Tortosa, Lleida, Reus and Terrassa; the ones that have medium indexes (between 60 and 70 points), which are Mataró, Granollers, Lloret de Mar, Tarragona, Sabadell and Barcelona, and the ones that have the lowest indexes, such as l’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Cornellà and Santa Coloma de Gramanet. The first group of cities includes, medium-size towns and regional capitals with strong Catalan-speaking communities. The second group includes big, industrial cities like Barcelona or Mataró and Granollers, in the metropolitan area of the Catalan capital. The towns in the third group are also around Barcelona and have traditionally been a place of residence for migrants coming from the rest of Spain. The results show how Catalan language use has improved all around the country, even in those areas where the majority of the population has Spanish as their mother tongue. L’Ofercat studied the use of Catalan in areas including public administration, economy, society, leisure, media, schools and health, through observation and data collection. Catalan is more normalized in public sectors, such as administration, health and education. In areas like shops and entertainment the greatest differences are observed between the cities.