September 24, 2020

The rate of single-parent households at risk of poverty doubles that of those integrated by two parents



"If I don't sink it is because of the eight-year-old child I have. I owe three months of rent and I have here the third notification that they will cut the light." Single-parent families in Spain, headed mainly by women, go through situations of poverty and precariousness in greater proportion than those that are not. Taking as reference the European AROPE indicator, one in two households of this type (50%) are at risk of poverty or exclusion, twice as many as those formed by two parents (25.8%). The risk of poverty or exclusion from the total of Spanish households stands at 26.1%, according to 2018 data. These are figures from the INE Survey of Living Conditions, analyzed by the European Network to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Spanish State (EAPN) in its report on Gender, Monoparentality and Minimum Income.

The conclusions of the study are overwhelming and suggest that the 1.8 million households headed by a single person (in 81.9% of cases, women) in Spain face problems to which the public administration has not responded as a priority. A situation dragged by "the current economic model presupposes the existence of two adults who generate income" to support the family, says EAPN, so the absence of one of them "implies a significant risk of suffering poverty."

According to the report Monomarentalidad y Empleo, published in 2018 by Adecco, almost half of women with unfamiliar family responsibilities, specifically 43%, are unemployed. Of these, seven out of ten have been in this situation for more than a year and 22% between one and two. "Prolonged unemployment, low income among employed women, the weak economic contribution of parents and the low protective level of policies in favor of these families are factors that contribute to the high poverty rate," explains the EAPN study. .

And it is that these households experience the relative poverty risk rates (having incomes below 60% of the median income) higher by type of household reaching 42.9% in 2018. The figure has climbed six points in ten years, being in 2008 at 36.8%. According to the Survey of Living Conditions, 74.9% reached the end of the month with some degree of difficulty, a rate 20 points above that of households formed by two parents (54.3%).

The EAPN report also includes several figures related to the material deficiencies that these families live: half cannot afford to go on vacation even one week a year and 53% have no capacity to face unforeseen expenses of at least 650 euros. In addition, 16.5% cannot afford to keep their home at an adequate temperature, a figure that is reduced to 6.8% in the case of households with two parents. All of this, the report recalls, in a context of gender inequality marked by two elements: that the care tasks continue to fall primarily on them and that female employment is traversed to a greater extent by precariousness.

"I don't get to pick her up at school"

With the aim of comparing the data collected by EAPN, the organization has surveyed 34 women who head single-parent households and who charge or have collected some type of minimum income, a benefit managed by the autonomous communities. According to a recent report from the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, the profile of the person receiving minimum income is a woman, with 60.17% of those who collected them in 2017, EAPN recalls.

The research takes advantage to lament the complexity and heterogeneity of this type of systems, also weighed down by the insufficient amounts or the limitations in its coverage. The women surveyed received an average minimum income of 568 euros. In summary, the results of the surveys reveal that these women go through a greater degree of poverty or social exclusion than the one experienced, in the light of the data, by the women who lead single-parent families in general.

Regarding the work environment, the employment situation of the women interviewed is marked by very long-term unemployment: almost half, 47%, have been unemployed for more than two years and 23% more than one. The problems to reconcile family and work life stand as one of the obstacles cited by most, which increases the barriers to access a job: "It happens to me not to pick it up at school. I have taken help courses at home and that and they call me to work 8 hours and I can't, while she goes to school I can work, but less than 8 hours they don't take you either, "says one of the women.

Housing, a key problem

In the case of these 34 women surveyed, a majority arrive with difficulty at the end of the month and 52% point to the impossibility of consuming chicken, fish or a vegetarian equivalent every two days. In fact, a majority, 74%, receive food frequently from the Red Cross, the Food Bank or similar associations.

The women surveyed have indicated housing as another of the fundamental problems: 63% have declared that they cannot pay rent, 53% say they have late payments and 42% live in a house with damp, leaking, fungus, windows or doors rotten The situation they are facing has direct consequences on the health of women, of which only 29% indicate that they have the capacity to face the expenses derived from diseases.

Faced with this situation, EAPN claims to advance the protection of all families, but "giving priority" to all single-parent households. Therefore, the first demand of the organization is the approval of specific legislation for these types of families to "guarantee rights" and alleviate the differences with those found depending on the autonomous community in which they reside. In addition, it calls for the introduction of a minimum income of a state nature and the promotion of policies for access to adequate employment that put the conciliation in the center.

(tagsToTranslate) single-parent (t) homes (t) Spain (t) arrive (t) difficulty



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