Severe poverty in Spain means living on less than 492 euros a month in one person’s homes. 259 euros per month per person in the case of households made up of two adults and two children. Almost 4.3 million people in the country live in this situation, 9.2% of the total population. “It is not a collection of particular cases, as has been said regarding the report of the rapporteur on poverty Philip Alston, it is a structural situation that involves millions of people,” said Juan Carlos Llano, author of a new report on Thursday. the European Network for the Fight against Poverty and Social Exclusion (EAPN) that delves into who these people are and under what conditions they live. One of the data portrays their special vulnerability to face housing expenses, which reduce their limited incomes much more than the rest of the population, in a better economic situation.
MAP | The municipalities and neighborhoods most affected by poverty in Spain that seek to combat the minimum vital income
“It is not true that these people are given housing,” the expert warned at the press conference to present the report, in which he tried to counter with data some stereotypes and prejudices that are often repeated with respect to the most vulnerable people. poor. The research analyzes the microdata from the Living Conditions Survey between 2008 and 2018, and separates the sample into two groups according to whether they are in severe poverty or not, to compare their situation.
The report shows that only 11.5% of people in severe poverty reside in houses on free assignment, while around 32% pay rents at market prices, 8% pay below-market rents and 16% do against mortgages for homes owned. Finally, about 33% live in home ownership without a mortgage. “Spain is a country of owners, although less and less”, Llano pointed out.
Dealing with housing costs in fact leaves these poorer households in a very weak economic situation. The bite that this item takes in their economies is much higher than that of the rest of the population, as evidenced by the indicator of when housing places a “high burden” on the household (the sum of all housing expenses represents 40 % or more of total disposable household income). 57% of people in severe poverty live in households that dedicate more than 40% of their income to these expenses, while in the rest of the population the figure is 4.1%.
The EAPN further recalls that high load “does not have the same meaning” in some households as in others. “Those with very high incomes, it is perfectly possible to dedicate 40% or more to housing expenses and, even so, have sufficient income for the rest of their needs,” they indicate, but in households in severe poverty it leads to exceeding the month with just under 200 euros in a person’s home.
Very high-burden situations, those in which housing eats half the household expenses, are also much more widespread among the poorest people: it reaches 47% of people in severe poverty, compared to 2.2 % of people who are not in this situation.
Given the above data, it is not surprising that almost three out of four people in severe poverty (71.3%) total household expenses place a heavy burden, and that 8.8% of those people suffered cuts in electricity or gas and on some occasion ceased to have any of its usual sources of energy, “the study said.
Severe poverty despite working or having medium and high education
Another of the ideas that Juan Carlos Llano has highlighted is that many people face this critical economic situation despite “having done their homework”, that is, having completed high school and even being working. Of the 4.3 million people living under the severe poverty threshold, 36.5% of those over 15 years old have at least the Baccalaureate: 21.9% the Baccalaureate and 14.6% have an education higher.
Employment is another factor closely related to poverty, in which the expert has also tried to break some preconceived ideas: not having a job leads many people to poverty, given an unemployment protection system that manages to protect them from this situation. the unemployed, but working is not always a lifeline to avoid falling into poverty. Some jobs are so precarious that they do not prevent us from getting out of this situation of great economic scarcity.
Among the 4.3 million people in severe poverty of working age, one in three (32.8%) is unemployed. A number not so distant, 30.3%, work, “that is, they have a paid job, but with a salary that does not allow them to have the necessary resources to satisfy their basic needs,” the report warns. More than 100,000 people who, despite having a job, live in homes in severe poverty.
In addition, 8.2% of this poorest group over the age of 15 is made up of retirees and the remaining 28.6% is made up of people in a situation of inactivity. Regarding retired people, the president of the EAPN in Spain, Carlos Susías, recalled that those over 65 years of age may not be beneficiaries of the Minimum Vital Income that the Government has launched, so he has called to review pensions Smaller amounts that do not prevent this group from facing the most acute poverty.
Families with children, the most affected
The homes most reached by severe poverty are also those in which minors reside, which leads the organization to affirm that today having children is a “risk factor” to face this situation. 11.4% of people living in households with minors are in severe poverty and the figure drops to 7% if they do not have them.
Furthermore, the percentage increases as the number of children in the family increases. In the case of large families, that is, with three or more children, 20.9% of people are in severe poverty. Another particularly vulnerable household is that of single-parent families, with a single adult with dependent children, who are mainly headed by women. In this case, the severe poverty rate reaches 23.9%, while in households with two adults with at least one child, the figure is 9.7%.
Carlos Susías has claimed to reinforce the protection of minimum incomes that these families receive, through the minimum vital income but also of the autonomous incomes that existed until now, so that they are complementary, since the minimum vital income will not reach the entire population in severe poverty. The government’s intention is that it reach 2.3 million people. In addition, the EAPN considers it necessary to maintain the child benefit “beyond the poverty lines”, given the lack of protection of households with minors, and to reinforce social rents and protected housing stock for people with greater financial difficulties.