MT Survey | Sunday, 06 September 2009
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So near and yet so different

MaltaToday surveys five localities: Sliema, Marsaskala, Mosta, Qormi and Gozo and maps out the variance in values and quality of life concerns. By JAMES DEBONO

A fifth of Sliema’s population travels abroad more than twice a year. But in Qormi, only one in every twenty do likewise.
The number of those eating out in a restaurant more than once a week is three times more in Sliema than in Qormi. And while concern for the environment is four times greater in Sliema than in four other Maltese localities, it’s ‘Slimizi’ who are the most likely to put all their rubbish in one bag without sorting it.
And remarkably, concern for immigration is greater in Gozo, where immigrants are the least visible.
Surprisingly, Marsaskala is more liberal on divorce than Sliema, where a majority still rejects its introduction. But younger people in Sliema are the most favourable to divorce from all five localities surveyed.
And while a majority in Marsaskala opposes resident parking schemes, such schemes are welcomed in four other localities.
761 respondents were chosen from the online telephone directory. 500 accepted to be interviewed. These included 100 respondents from five different localities, namely Gozo, Marsaskala, Mosta, Qormi and Sliema. The survey was conducted between Tuesday 25 August and Friday 4 September.

Pressing concerns

At 22%, concern for unemployment is four times higher in Gozo than in Sliema. While the environment comes second at 16% in the list of concerns of Sliema residents, in all other localities it is overtaken by other pressing material concerns.
The cost of living tops the list of concerns in all localities surveyed by MaltaToday but is higher in Mosta and lowest in Sliema. On the other hand, concern for the utility bills is highest in the more affluent Sliema. Gozitans are the least likely to be concerned by the state of their roads, while people in southern Marsaskala are the most concerned.
Surprisingly, concern on immigration is highest in Gozo where immigrants are less visible. Concern for the global recession is highest in Marsaskala and lowest in Qormi.

Different lifestyles

Sliema residents seem to enjoy a better quality of life than those in the four other localities. On the other hand, Qormi and Mosta are the least likely to travel abroad and to frequent restaurants. While 20.2% of Sliema residents go abroad more than twice a year, only 5.6% of Mosta residents and 4% of Qormi residents do likewise.
And while 13% of Sliema residents eat in a restaurant more than once a week, less than half do so in the other localities surveyed.
The survey also shows that respondents from Marsaskala and Gozo tend to eat out and travel more than those hailing from Qormi and Mosta.
When it comes to spending patterns on lotteries and gaming one finds very few differences between the localities surveyed, except that Mosta residents tend to spend less than the other localities surveyed.
But different patterns can be seen when it comes to disposing rubbish. Gozitans and Sliema people are the most likely to make the extra effort required to dispose their rubbish in bring in sites.
But, surprisingly, people from Sliema are also the most likely to dispose their rubbish without separating it. On the other hand, Qormi people are the least likely to use bring in sites but the most likely to separate their waste before the Tuesday collection.

Moral chasm

Differences in opinion on divorce are more likely to be a reflection of the different age composition of the localities surveyed than a reflection of a regional ideological chasm.
While a 54% majority of people in Marsaskala favour divorce, only 44% if Sliema residents want divorce to be introduced.
But this could be explained by the fact that while more than a third of Sliema’s residents are aged over 60, only 11% of Marsaskala falls in the same age group.
But among respondents aged under 34, the percentage of Sliema residents favouring divorce increases to 67%; which clearly indicates a chasm between Sliema’s older and younger population.
The same pattern is also observed in Mosta, where 51% oppose divorce but 58% of those aged under 35 favour its introduction.
But the survey clearly shows Qormi and Gozo, are more conservative than the other localities. While in Sliema, Marsaskala and Mosta a majority of respondents aged under 34 favour divorce in Qormi and Gozo, an anti-divorce majority exists even among the younger respondents

Parking blues

55% of Sliema residents support the introduction of a resident parking scheme. The result of the survey comes in the wake of the local council’s decision to enact a parking scheme which will give residents access to park in all roads within Sliema with no time restrictions.
Non-residents would have the right to unrestricted parking in half of Sliema roads. A 120 minutes maximum parking restriction will be imposed on the remaining half. The restriction times for Sliema apply between 8am and 9pm from Monday to Sunday.
The majority of residents in Mosta, Qormi and Gozo also favour the introduction of similar schemes.
The greatest opposition to resident parking schemes is registered in Marsaskala, which also has the youngest population among the localities surveyed. While 34% of Marsaskala residents oppose such schemes, 30% said that this depends on where the scheme is introduced.

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