Patterns of language use have been investigated by McDowell (2010). He reports that while Wolio continues to be spoken by children in the villages, children of Wolio speakers in the city primarily use Indonesian, although they may possess a passive competence in their heritage language.
Although McDowell (2010) rates Wolio as 4/Vulnerable, among the urban population (who represent the majority of speakers) the situation is better described as 3/Definitely Endangered. A pattern of language decline in an urban center with maintenance in a rural periphery is of course not unique to Wolio. Among Sulawesi languages similar situations have been described for Dondo, Tombulu and Totoli.
What Others Have Written
[The Wolio] language is still spoken by a large portion of the adult Wolio population. However, children are now taught Indonesian as their first language in the home to help them with school. This means that many of the children and younger people are more fluent in Indonesian than in Wolio. The increasing number of people immigrating to Baubau from other ethnic groups also means Indonesian is being used in more and more spheres, including the home in intra-ethnic marriages.
Children are taught the Wolio language and orthography during grades three to six in the schools of Baubau. … [While] the government supports teaching of Wolio in the schools … there is no coordinated effort to expand use of Wolio to the public domain. Some government speakers will address some audiences using Wolio.
Jonathan McDowell (2010:pers.comm.)
In the city of Baubau, fewer and fewer children are taught Wolio in the home as a first language, though they have passive competence in it. In the few Wolio villages it is still used as a first language in the homes.
McDowell, Jonathan. 2010. Wolio linguistic vitality and diversity. Completed UNESCO survey form, unpublished, 12 pp.