MADRID – As a result of the corona pandemic, more and more residents of Spain have reached the poverty line and do not even have enough money to heat their homes. With 12.5 million Spaniards living in poverty during 2020, the decline in this number from the previous five years has come to an end.
Specifically, 3.3 million inhabitants of Spain currently do not have the financial means to be able to meet unforeseen expenses. Even to eat a hot meal with meat, fish, or chicken every two days or to heat their home to a pleasant temperature is not possible.
This is apparent from a research report into the poverty situation in Spain, presented last Thursday by the Spanish branch of the European Network Against Poverty and Social Exclusion (EAPN-ES).
According to the so-called AROPE rate, the number of people reaching the threshold of poverty and/or social exclusion has increased by more than 1 percentage point last year compared to the previous year. In absolute numbers, this means that an additional 620 thousand people are living on the poverty line.
‘Severe material deprivation’
The pandemic has increased “severe material deprivation” in 15 of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions by nearly 50%. This means people cannot afford basic standard living. Only in the regions of Castile-La Mancha and Aragon, this was not the case.
Currently, nearly 1 in 10 children and adolescents in Spain are in a state of severe material deprivation; this also applies to 1 in 7 people from a single-parent family; 1 in 4 non-European foreigners and 1 in 20 Spaniards. Of the Spanish population, 10% can barely get by on their monthly income. This figure was 7.8% before the start of the pandemic, and amounts to an annual increase of more than 28%.
Spain number 6 of countries with greatest inequality
Furthermore, the income of the richest 20% inhabitants, is almost 6 times higher than the income of the poorest 20%. The most recent data from 2019 shows that Spain ranks 6th among the European countries with the greatest income inequality. It is only larger in Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, and Italy.