A survey carried out at the end of last year (1997) in 28 of Barcelona's private and public schools produced some not-so surprising results about the attitudes towards immigrants. Almost 66 percent of those interviewed said that while they weren't against immigrants coming here to start a new life, half thought that jobs and study places should first be given to natives. Seventy percent were of the opinion that immigrants were involved in petty crime and caused fights.
Moroccans and gypsies (although the latter cannot theoretically be termed as immigrants) fared the worst. Half of the nearly 1200 students interviewed stated that while they got on with immigrants as a whole, the figures only reached 19 and 33 percent respectively for these two groups. Those that fared best were Europeans and Latin Americans. The figures also varied between private and public schools, with the latter showing a more open attitude towards immigration. Areas where there is a high population of foreigners, Ciutat Vella for example, were the highest on the list of anti-immigration opinions. The study, carried out by Joan Jiménez Palacios and a team of three helpers concluded that while the attitude towards immigration was positive, prejudices and stereotypes continued to exist. This result is reflected in a European wide survey carried out by the group Eurobarómetro which concluded that Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg are the most sympathetic toward immigrants with Austria, France and Belgium at the bottom of the list. Foreign residents in Barcelona accounted for 2.3 percent of the population in 1996, the last figures available. The same year it was also concluded that Spain was home to only 540,000 immigrants, half of which were Americans, Canadians and Europeans.