Currently, Cochabamba is among Bolivia's most economically and socially progressive cities. Commensurate with other large cities in the Andean highlands of South America, Cochabamba is a city of contrasts. Its central commercial districts, bounded by Plaza Colón and Plaza 14 de Septiembre, is generally equipped with modern urban amenities and is where the majority of the city's business and commercial industries are based. An active nightlife is centered around Calle España and along the broad, tree-lined boulevard, El Prado. In contrast, the remote area adjacent to the Wilstermann International Airport is visibly impoverished, with adobe homes and unpaved roads, which is often the first impression visitors acquire while commuting into the city.
The most widely spoken language in Cochabamba is Spanish. Although the Spanish that is spoken in the Cochabamba region is generally regarded as rather conservative in its phonetics and vocabulary, a few Quechua and Aymara terminology (guagua , papa ) have been incorporated into its standardized form.
As with most cities around the globe, English language is increasingly spoken and understood, particularly among business-minded indigenous and repatriated Cochabambinos. English-language instruction has become incorporated into Bolivian education from elementary to college levels.
The city's racial demographics consist of the following visible groups in order of prevalence: Western Hemispheric indigenous (mostly of Quechua ethnicity), Mestizo or mixed Indigenous, and a minority of white Caucasoid and mixed white (Criollos).