ALMOST 50 per cent of single-parent families find it hard to tackle unforeseen expenses, pay the rent and feed their children a balanced diet. In other words, 50 per cent of the children from single-parent households are at risk of poverty.
Children under 18 are especially vulnerable to the risk of poverty and social exclusion and in Spain, 29.9 per cent of minors, 21.9 per cent of adults and 14.8 per cent of people older than 65 are severely materially deprived or live in households with very low work intensity. These are some of the daunting conclusions drawn by the third report on children published by Educo and based on data from Eurostat, the European Commission and the National Statistics Institute (INE).
Figures show that as many as 2.5 million Spanish children are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, which means 500,000 more than seven years ago, when the crisis broke out.
As reported by Educo, this can be attributed to a number of factors. For instance, the characteristics of every individual household: data show that children from single-parent homes are at a higher risk, followed by children from large families, where the risk of poverty increases to 47 per cent. According to the report, the risk of poverty increases by almost 50 per cent in families with more than two children.
Unemployment is another important factor when determining if a child could be at risk of social exclusion or poverty. Figures show that almost 1 million Spanish families with children are currently affected by unemployment and that 40 per cent of them find it hard to make ends meet by the end of the month.
Another factor is the insufficient financial aid provided by local administrations to families at risk. Not only is the aid insufficient but also inadequately planned. “It is only considered when the family already has problems and not pre-emptively,” said General Director of Educo Jose Maria Faura.
Unlike countries like Germany and Ireland, where almost 90 per cent of families benefit from social welfare programmes, in Spain only one in every 10 families is provided aid.
More than half of Spanish children at risk of poverty and social exclusion (1.5 million) live in Catalonia, Madrid, Valencia and Andalucia and, in percentage terms, the regions with the largest number of children at risk are Murcia (42 per cent), Andalucia (40 per cent) and Madrid (38 per cent). In contrast, the region with the lowest poverty rate is Navarra (16 per cent).