Young people in the Balearics are some of the wealthiest and fun loving in Spain, although not the most studious. Sociologist Javier Elzo and his team have been working on an exhaustive study of Balearic youth for the regional bank Sa Nostra since 1999 and yesterday presented the study's conclusions. The study is based on 1'000 people resident in the Balearics and aged between 15 and 24 in 1999. 38.6 per cent rest importance on their studies or work and strive to do better while for 32.4 per cent, their main priority is having fun. Javier Elzo, who completed a study on youth in Spain just two months before embarking on the Balearics study, said that on the whole, young peopel are satisfied with their life, believe they enjoy a great deal of freedom “and are more concerned about gossip rather than changing society” and are on the whole tolerant. However, in the Balearics, young people “work more and study less” than in the rest of Spain and that more either live away from home than the national average or are far more financially independent. 64 per cent claim to be Catholic, but only 34 per cent practising, slightly less than across Spain. One of the findings in the Balearics Javier Elzo said he found most interesting was the great importance given to the media, especially when it comes to forming opinions, with those of family and friends in second place, quite the opposite to the rest of the country. Drugs, Aids and unemployment are the three top concerns for those aged between 15 and 24 in the Balearics, and in that order. However drug abuse in the Balearics is above the national average, especially when it comes to ecstasy and cocaine. Immigration is however a growing concern, 54 per cent believe there are too many immigrants in the Balearics and 19 per cent want to see tighter restrictions introduced. Unlike on the mainland, where young people will name their town or city as place of origin, in the Balearics, they will either name their island or the region. On the whole, Balearic youth is much more institutional than on the mainland. The results of the study will be used by the bank to decide which youth projects are best to support, this year around 199.600 euros will be invested by the bank in 44 youth projects organised by 36 associations.

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