For a third of Spanish households, a pension is the sole source of income

Latest National Statistics Institute report shows immigrant families’ income below national average

Cristina Delgado
Two pensioners out for a walk in Madrid's Retiro park.
Two pensioners out for a walk in Madrid's Retiro park.Jaime Villanueva

The latest data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) show that Spaniards are spending more on food and drink, whether at home or in bars and restaurants, and that consumption is driving what little growth the Spanish economy has shown in recent years.

Most households depend either on a monthly paycheck or self-employed earnings. But the INE’s figures show that for 34.3% of households in Spain, a pension – for retired, disabled or widowed individuals – is the main source of income.

A further 5.71% of households in Spain depend either on temporary unemployment benefits or welfare checks. The figure has fallen from a high of 6.8% in 2014; in 2006, prior to the crisis, the figure was 2.3%.

The INE’s figures show that for 34.3% of households in Spain, a pension is the main source of income

The number of salaried workers has risen to 47.12%, the highest level since 2011. What’s more, employees make up the biggest spenders, according to the INE’s data. The self-employed make up 10.5% of households, as they did last year.

How people earn their living has a big influence on how much money they spend. Households where the main breadwinner is working spent €31,095 last year, 13.4% higher than the average. Households where the main breadwinner was unemployed spent €17,461, 36% below the average. In the case of households dependent on a pension, the average annual budget is €25,319.

Nationality also influences spending, according to the INE’s figures. Non-Spaniards spend on average €20,331 a year, compared to the €28,066 Spanish households spend.

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The area of spending that has grown the most since 2014 is drinking and dining out, with a 9.1% increase between 2014 and 2015.

Similarly, Spaniards spent €60 more in 2015 than the previous year – a 3.9% increase – on culture and entertainment, while there was a 6.8% increase in all-inclusive holidays, along with a 6% hike in sports equipment spending.

Broken down by regions, Basque families spent the most last year on average (€33,318), followed by Madrid (€31,532) and Navarre (€31,356). The lowest spending was recorded in Extremadura (€22,493), the Canary Islands (€23,372) and Andalusia (€24,342).

English version by Nick Lyne.

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