Recent data shows that poverty and the impact of inflation is more severe here in the Algarve, North Portugal and the islands.
At the end of September, the Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security announced that the implementation of a new model of support for the most needy people is underway, which will be done via card.
In addition to this government program, people seek support from social institutions that are increasingly making requests to the Food Bank to be able to support the growing number of families asking for help, according to the Food Bank president, Isabel Jonet.
Almost a third of the Portuguese population lived at risk of poverty in 2021, a number that already reflected some effects of the covid-19 pandemic, but not the current financial crisis.
In recent months, and following the war in Ukraine, the rise in prices has been a constant in several sectors. This month, inflation in Portugal reached its highest level in 30 years (up to 10.2%), with an impact on the population’s lives.
Here is what is known about poverty in Portugal and the impacts of inflation:
The most recent official data on poverty in Portugal refer to 2021. In that year, the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate increased by around 12% compared to the previous year to 22.4%.
With almost a quarter of the Portuguese population at risk of poverty, 2021 saw the highest annual increase in the risk of poverty in Portugal since 2005, according to the National Observatory for the Fight Against Poverty, and the eighth highest rate among EU countries. European.
Even after social transfers, the at-risk-of-poverty rate stood at 18.4% last year, being the most serious situation in the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira, in the North and Algarve.
Material and social deprivation reached 13.5% of the population
In addition to the risk of poverty, measured on the basis of individual income, the economic difficulties of families are also reflected in the rate of material and social deprivation which, in 2021, reached 13.5% of the population, the seventh highest in the European Union.
For 6% of residents in Portugal, the situation was one of severe deprivation, which means that they were not able to bear more than four out of nine charges, which include the payment of rent or loans, vacations away from home, a meat meal or fish every two days, unexpected expenses, telephone, color television, a washing machine, a car and keeping the house properly warm.
Anticipating the effects of inflation, the National Observatory for the Fight Against Poverty warns that, despite not witnessing a loss of income by the Portuguese population, the 2022 data should reveal the loss of purchasing power that affects both the population in employment or the unemployed population.
Elderly, unemployed and single-parent families are the most vulnerable
Poverty and material and social deprivation affect, above all, the older population, the unemployed and single-parent families.
According to the report by the National Observatory for the Fight Against Poverty, released on October 17, about 25% of people over 65 years of age were at risk of poverty last year and 17.6% lived in material and social deprivation.
Poverty affected 60.4% of the unemployed population, of which 33% were deprived. In the case of single-parent families, the at-risk-of-poverty and material deprivation rates were 38.2% and 20.5%, respectively.
Eurostat data released on Thursday indicate that, last year, 22.9% of Portuguese children under the age of 18 lived in poverty, a figure below the European Union average (24.4%).
Inflation at its highest in 30 years
The year-on-year rate of change in the Consumer Price Index increased to 10.2% in October, compared to 9.28% in September, reaching its maximum since May 1992, according to the flash estimate released by the National Statistics Institute on Friday.
In September, inflation had already reached a peak in almost 30 years, with the year-on-year change in the Consumer Price Index standing at 9.3%, the highest since October 1992.
The rise in prices has been felt, above all, in the energy, housing and food sectors. For example, according to Banco de Portugal estimates, the cost of a basic food basket rose 15% between October 2021 and August this year, with some products soaring 20%.
Portuguese people who receive the minimum wage currently have 65 euros less purchasing power than a year ago due to inflation, according to data from Portada, which also indicate that people who receive minimum old-age and disability pensions are, in practice, with 25.9 euros less purchasing power than a year ago.
The Bank of Portugal warned, at the beginning of the month, that inflation has more severe consequences for families with lower incomes than those with higher incomes, because for the former, inflation is felt, above all, in the price of essential goods. .
Measures to support families include an extraordinary payment of 125 euros
In September, the prime minister announced that taxpayers with a monthly income of up to 2,700 euros would receive an extraordinary payment of 125 euros, this amount being allocated per person, and a subsidy of 50 euros per dependent.
It was one of the Government’s exceptional measures to support families to mitigate the effects of inflation and which includes the payment to pensioners of 14 and a half months of pensions, instead of the usual 14 months.
For children, the Government had announced in October last year a supplement to the family allowance, intended for children and young people under the age of 18 who live in extreme poverty. The Childhood Guarantee began to be paid in September.