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Friday, September 24, 2021

Severe poverty soared by 49% in the Canary Islands in 2020 to affect over 373,000 people

Stock image of a homeless human. Most people in severe poverty (95.2%) have homes.

The Canary Islands is the community with the highest percentage of severe poverty 

Severe poverty grew by 49% in the Canary Islands in 2020 and affects 373,665 people, 16.5% of the total population of the archipelago, 132,285 more people since the start of the pandemic in 2020, according to data collected by the European Network for the Fight against Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Spanish State (EAPN-ES) in their second report 'The Map of Severe Poverty in Spain: The Landscape of Abandonment'.

The archipelago grew more than five points in one year and positioned the autonomous community as that with the highest percentage of its population in severe poverty, ahead of the Valencian Community and Asturias, with 13.4% and 12, 2% respectively.

In the country as a whole, a total of 4.5 million people in Spain (9.5% of the population) live in severe poverty in Spain and 72% of them are Spanish.

The Living Conditions Survey (July 2021), places the income threshold to consider that a household is in severe poverty at 6,417.30 euros per unit of consumption per year; that is, each person must survive on less than 281 euros per month in the case of a family with two adults and two minors, and with less than 535 euros per month if they live alone.

EAPN Spain recalls that with this budget, these people have to cover all their needs, so the main difficulty is having to choose between eating or maintaining an adequate temperature at home, between culture and nappies or between having a computer or shoes.

Regarding the profile of people living in severe poverty in Spain in 2020, the document reveals that 72% are Spanish, many of them with a medium (53%) or high (17.9%) educational level and, in addition, with work (27.5%) and with a home (95.2%).


Furthermore, the study reveals that 14.1% of girls, boys and adolescents (aged 17 or under) live in this situation, a figure that contrasts with 8.6% of the population as a whole.

Another of the data highlighted in the report is that 12% of the people who live in households with minors are in a situation of severe poverty compared to 7.1% of those who live in households without minors; and that 21.5% of the people living in single-parent households (mostly headed by women) are in a situation of severe poverty.

By territories, the Canary Islands, the Valencian Community and Asturias present the highest percentages, ranging between 12.2% and 16.7% of the total population living in severe poverty. In absolute values, the highest correspond to the communities with the largest population: Andalusia, which has more than 980,000 people in severe poverty, Catalonia and the Valencian Community, with 702,000 and 674,000 respectively.

EAPN concludes in its report that after a year and a half of the pandemic, the signs "reaffirm the social bias of the disease", both with regard to the possibilities of contagion and the "profound economic consequences" that it produces among the poorest population.

Specifically, it points out that people who live in poverty eat worse, have more diseases, are more obese, exercise less, live in underfunded or small homes and most of those who manage to work do so in jobs that require face-to-face activity.

The president of EAPN-ES, Carlos Susías, stated during the presentation that in order to face this serious situation of poverty in Spain, tools such as the Minimum Living Income (IMV) must be assessed, and highlighted some aspects improvement.


"The amount of the Minimum Living Income must be improved by placing it above the poverty threshold, as well as its coverage, so that it reaches all the people who need it, especially, those in situations of greater social and economic vulnerability," he said.

Head of Political Advocacy and European Affairs, Graciela Malgesini, pointed out that, in view of the report's data, "poverty is the result of political decisions, inequality and injustice."

"Its elimination is achieved through a high level of social protection, with effective and generous resources, universal public services and quality employment. And it is guaranteed through gender equality and the fight against all forms of discrimination," she stressed.

EAPN-ES warns that the social and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will remain and continue to affect the most vulnerable population groups, so it is committed to extending the social protection measures implemented to deal with the social and health crisis. 

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