More than 3 million Spaniards find it difficult to pay housing costs or buy healthy meals

by Deborah Cater
Over 3 million people in Spain are facing severe material deprivation

More than 3 million people in Spain face severe material deprivation and are unable to pay their living expenses or put a healthy meal on the table on a regular basis. From 2019 to 2020, this percentage has increased by almost 2.5%.

The percentage of the Spanish population experiencing severe material deprivation in 2020 was no less than 7%. In 2019, this percentage was 4.7%. Severe material deprivation means people are often unable to pay their living expenses, put a healthy meal on the table or buy the basic necessities for the home, such as a washing machine or a car.

INE conducts annual research into poverty in Spain

These 2020 conclusions and statistics emerged from a survey by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) published Thursday. The overall trend, when it comes to deprivation or poverty in Spain, is increasing.

Not only has the percentage of Spaniards increased, the proportion of the population at risk of being in this situation or of being socially excluded soon rose from 25.3% in 2019 to 26.4% in 2020.

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Effect of the pandemic on the economic situation of Spanish households

For this study, the INE paid particular attention to the effect of the pandemic on the economic situation of households. The main problems people encountered were problems paying housing costs (13.5%), not having the money to heat the house (10.9%) and not being able to afford to put a healthy meal on the table (5.4%).

In March, the charity Caritas said ‘hunger queues’ were forming as a result of the pandemic. 

10% of the participants in the INE survey say they have a lot of trouble getting through the week with their disposable income. This is 2.2 percentage points higher than in 2019. 35.4% of those surveyed are unable to pay for unforeseen expenses. In 2019, this percentage was 33.9%. Additionally, last year 34.4% of people were unable to go on holiday at least once. In 2019, this percentage was 1% lower.

Which Spanish region has the most poverty?

In addition to material deprivation, the INE also published figures of the degree of poverty and social exclusion per region. Relatively speaking, Extremadura has the most people living (almost) below the poverty line. In Navarra and the Basque Country, this situation is reversed and relatively few people have to deal with this situation.

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