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10 million Spaniards are living below the poverty line due to the pandemic

The National Institute of Statistics has provided numbers that show the extent of the damage the pandemic caused to Spanish families, including the drop in incomes and rise in unemployment.

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10 million Spaniards are living below the poverty line due to the pandemic

The National Institute of Statistics has provided numbers that show the extent of the damage the pandemic caused to Spanish families, including the drop in incomes and rise in unemployment. The coronavirus caused an economic slowdown that dragged 21.7% (or 10.3 million) of Spanish citizens below the poverty line by 2021. This is seven tenths of what it was a year ago (when income data was still pre-pandemic). It places Spain's x-ray of poverty at dimensions unimaginable since the first decade of the last decade (2012 to 2015), which were the worst and most destructive years of the great economic crash.

A decline in income for the average Spaniard of around 150 euros per annum has caused more families to cross that line, from which the risk to fall into poverty increases. For houses with one resident, this means having less than 9,535 euro, and for households with two or more children, it does not exceed 20,024. Minors and their parents are the most at risk for falling into poverty. Nearly three-quarters of all children live in poverty, or 28.7%. However, those over 65 do not have their situation worsened because they weren't exposed to the wild contraction in employment or because they had experienced significant poverty the year before.

21.7% of Spaniards are below the poverty line. However, up to six more points, or 27.8%, of the population are at risk of social exclusion. The number of citizens in Spain is 13.2 million, which is 3% more than a year ago and an increase also not seen since the Great Crisis. This is partly due to an increase in the number of people living in poverty, and also to the rapid growth in families where their members are not working even 20% of the days. This is 11% more households than one year ago.

The 8.5% decrease in the number of citizens in severe material deprivation (almost solemnly impoverished) shows that the social crisis has caused widespread poverty in the middle and working classes. However, not all of them are equally affected.

The INE statistics clearly show who makes up the army of exclusion and those at risk or in danger of becoming so. The core of poverty in Spain can be seen in single-parent families with children, which are dominated by women. More than half of these families live in constant hardship. This is a significant increase of five percentage points in just twelve months. They are twice as poor as the national average.

If you only look at the origin, 58.6% foreign residents only understand hardship and exclusion. While they have been poor for a long time, the number of people who are more severe has increased by 7.5 points since 2020. It also matters how social status is viewed. 38.4% of the Spanish who have not completed primary school are more at risk of poverty or marginalization than the 34.4% who have only achieved ESO. Only 14.9% of those with higher education are the most vulnerable.

Two of the most common hardships suffered by people who are living in extreme material poverty is also revealed by The Living Conditions Survey. 14.3% of Spaniards are living in energy poverty, which is 3.4 percentage points higher than the previous year. Nearly seven million Spaniards are unable to heat or cool their homes. A 14.4% of the population, nearly identical to those in Spain, had to stop paying their mortgages, letters, or monthly credit payments by 2021. This is almost one percentage point more than it was a year ago.

A Charities volunteer. / e.c.

Caritas is a great connoisseur of poverty and inequality in Spain and its volunteers are always at the forefront of fighting against it.

Today, the Church NGO reported that nearly 1.3 million Spanish citizens were accompanied by its various structures in 2021. They are 150,000 less than they were a year ago, when they had been forced to multiply in response to the rapid and severe return to hunger caused by the pandemic. This is still a record number, as shown by the fact that 20% of those affected are more vulnerable than the organization that supported them before the covid was created. According to Natalia Peiro (secretary general of Caritas), there are fewer people in need than 2020. However, they are not citizens with particular problems or deficiencies. Rather, they are people who require sustained and long-term assistance, months of accompaniment.

The NGO's leaders indicated that they are concerned about the thousands of families who are being impacted by inflation. They say it rains on and on. They have witnessed how the effects of the invasion of Ukraine, and the rapid rise in living costs make their daily lives and those of their children more difficult.

Peiro gave a very graphic example. "For the most vulnerable not a setback, but a situation which overwhelms them," he said. Peiro explained that the CPI rise of 9% has caused a Spanish vulnerable family with two children to lose 72 euros each month. This means that they are unable to pay rent, gas, electricity, and the minimum amount to fill their fridge.

Last year, Caritas devoted 79.8% (from a budget of 403 millions) to support for vulnerable families in Spain. Other big bets included the program for the elderly (34.5 millions), the homeless (35.9million), and family, child, and youth measures (227 million). As well as support for 10,368 households with housing expenses (which, after the absence of employment, is the factor that causes the greatest social exclusion amongst the most vulnerable populations.

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