Almost 30% of Spaniards at risk of poverty or social exclusion

Latest figures show that average annual household income stands at €26,000

A woman walks her baby in Barcelona.
A woman walks her baby in Barcelona.Massimiliano Minocri (EL PAÍS)

The financial crisis that has hit the Spanish economy since 2008 drags on. The macroeconomic data is steadily improving, but many Spaniards still face severe hardship.

The latest Eurostat figures show that 28.6% of Spaniards are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, a slight improvement on the figure of 29.2% for 2014.

The recession has left deep scars on Spanish society. Some 6.4% of Spaniards say they face severe material shortfalls, meaning for example that they cannot afford to take a summer vacation, eat meat or fish for at least two days a week, put the heating or air conditioning on, or pay for a washing machine.

Older people who do not own their own homes face serious risks of falling into poverty

A detailed look at the data produces a picture of the most vulnerable to the impact of the recession: young foreigners with only secondary education who are jobless, unmarried but with a child or dependent, and resident in Andalusia are most likely to fall into poverty, says Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE). Average household income fell last year by 0.2% to €26,092, says the INE.

“The population at risk is a relative indicator that measures inequality. It doesn’t measure poverty as an absolute, but simply how many people have low income in relation to the rest of the population,” says the INE in a press release issued on Tuesday. It measures poverty in terms of households with less than 60% of the average income. Last year, that translated into €8,000 for single income homes, and €16,000 for households with two adults and two children aged under 14.

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The figures show that children are at the greatest risk of falling into poverty. “Some 28.8% of the population aged under 16 is at risk of poverty,” says the INE’s latest survey. It adds that although the number of over-65s at risk of poverty is relatively low, older people who do not own their own homes face serious risks of falling into poverty.

Almost 14% of Spanish households find it “very hard” to reach the end of the month, a drop of 2.4% on last year. Four in 10 families lack the resources to deal with unexpected expenses, while 40% of households cannot afford to go on holiday.

English version by Nick Lyne.


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