The covid-19 has increased to unprecedented levels in Spain material deprivation for people in severe poverty . It is the main conclusion of the latest report of the European Network to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Spanish State (EAPN-ES) on how the weakest link in society has lived through the pandemic,
Last year, one in three people living in severe poverty in Spain had great difficulties to make ends meet . 68% could not cope with unexpected expenses. A third have been forced to delay housing payments or utility bills . And, in addition, 15%, the highest percentage in the historical series, did not eat chicken, meat or fish once every two days. In addition, a third of the 4.5 million under the severe poverty line (according to the latest official data available, from 2019) could not buy clothes or shoes, and double, 68.7%, could not afford it in 2020 some vacations.
The authors of the EAPN study , which analyzes the July 2021 survey of living conditions and was presented this Friday, conclude that “severe poverty has enormous consequences on people’s lives and that they have increased notably with the addition of of the pandemic “.
Material deprivation measures the lack of access to a series of basic products for life . In general terms, it has happened in a year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, to affect 4.7% to 7% of the general population, an increase of 49% and a sudden regression to the hardest years of the crisis. But, if one looks particularly at the data of the poorest in Spain, 26.7% of them suffer from severe material deprivation.
“People in severe poverty lived badly before the pandemic, they live badly during it and they will live badly when it ends,” they recall in EAPN, which is why they ask that the social shield measures implemented as of March 2020 be maintained – energy bonus, prohibition to cut basic supplies, increase in rents or suspension of evictions. In his opinion, they are “an oxygen balloon for a part of the homes in severe poverty, and pose the need for their maintenance in the medium and long term.”
“Covid-19 has stunned decades of progress in the fight against extreme poverty”
From EAPN they denounce that the covid-19 “has struck down the progress of decades in the fight against extreme poverty” and they believe the pandemic “and the associated economic crisis” will have “important and rapid consequences” in the increase of poverty in Spain. The authors of the last report point out that “the subsequent recovery will be as always: in the long term and not for everyone.”
For this reason, Carlos Susías, president of EAPN, has considered it necessary to ” improve the amount of the Minimum Vital Income 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 a situation of poverty . greater social and economic vulnerability “.
More infections due to lack of space in homes
Another of the aspects highlighted in the report is how the lack of space in housing has affected the pandemic, suffered by one in five (21.5%) of people in severe poverty. They remind EAPN that residing in a home without adequate conditions is in itself difficult, but in confinement “it made the experience of covid-19 much more difficult.”
“The lack of sufficient space in the house has been one of the great difficulties for families during 2020; and it has been pointed out not only by problems of privacy and habitability, but also by the increase in family infections and the impossibility of adequately isolate people who fell ill from the coronavirus in poor households, “the report says.
Although there is no updated data for 2021, the organization recalls that being a child is a risk factor for poverty (which is living on less than 281 euros per month per person in a family of four) . 14% of minors in Spain live below this poverty line (compared to 8.6% of the population of legal age).
Having children is also a risk factor for poverty and, extraordinarily high, being a single-parent family. In this case, the report indicates that one out of every two families headed by a single parent, usually mothers, cannot meet the basic needs of the day to day.