Spain’s decade-long boom fails to reduce poverty
A new study reports that one in five Spaniards is poor and earns less than 60 percent of the median national income.29 October 2008
MADRID - Spain's astounding economic growth over the past decade has failed to reduce poverty levels, putting millions of households at risk if the current financial crisis turns into a deep and painful recession, a new study suggests.
The Report on Exclusion and Social Development in Spain 2008 shows that one out of five Spaniards lives in relative poverty, defined as earning less than 60 percent of the median national income.
That level has not changed over the last 10 years, confirming that the near doubling of Spanish GDP to around $1.4 trillion over that period has failed to improve the lot of the poorest members of society.
"Economic development in recent years has not led to greater equality," noted Luis Ayala, a professor of applied economics at Rey Juan Carlos University who conducted the study for the Foessa Foundation.
The study shows that the last decade has been the only period in which poverty levels have not fallen since comparable studies started to be published in the early 1980s.
Ayala's research suggests that many of Spain's 8.5 million people living below the relative poverty line, including 1.5 million suffering extreme poverty, will suffer acutely if the economic crisis worsens. Currently, almost half of them have extreme difficulties surviving on what they earn and few have the ability to cover unforeseen expenses.
[El Pais / Expatica]