22 October 2012
Every fifth resident lives in poverty in Spain, new figures showed Monday, dpa reported.
The national statistics institute INE said 21.1 per cent of the 47-million population lives below the poverty line, meaning they live on less than 7,355 euros (9,610 dollars) annually.
That is slightly less than a year ago, when the percentage stood at 21.8 per cent. The apparent improvement, however, is only due to the increase of elderly people whose pensions constitute a relatively stable income, INE said.
The number of minors aged under 16 living in poverty has increased to 21 per cent from 19.4 per cent in 2011.
Families' medium annual income dropped by 1.9 per cent to 24,609 euros. The number of households having a lot of difficulties to cover their costs went up to 12.7 per cent from 9.8 per cent. About 44 per cent of Spanish families cannot afford to go on holiday.
Foreigners are more at risk of becoming poor - 26.2 per cent - than Spaniards, 19.8 per cent of whom are at risk.
Charity organizations have warned about the growth of poverty in Spain. The country is experiencing its second recession in three years, while unemployment has rocketed to nearly 25 per cent.
Critics attribute the spread of poverty partly to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's austerity policies. They nevertheless received the backing of voters on Sunday in elections in the north-western region of Galicia, where Rajoy's People's Party (PP) increased its absolute majority in the regional parliament.
Galicia has managed to keep its budget deficit low, unlike the central government, which is struggling to trim it from 9.4 per cent in 2011 to 6.3 per cent this year.