Child poverty in Catalonia increased from 18.5% to 23.8% between 2008 to 2010
Unicef has released a study revealing that children and youngsters are some of the most vulnerable people hit by the crisis. The study stresses that they are the future of any society. Between 2008 and 2010, child poverty in Catalonia increased by more than 5 percentage points. In Spain as a whole, child poverty jumped from 24% to 26.2% in the same period.
Barcelona (ACN).- Child poverty in Catalonia has increased with the economic crisis, according to a study presented on Thursday in Barcelona by Unicef. From 2008 to 2010, child poverty has passed from affecting 18.5% of Catalan children to 23.8%. In a three years period, child poverty increased by more than 5 percentage points in Catalonia. In the rest of Spain, although the child poverty rate is higher, it only increased by 2 percentage points, passing from 24% to 26.2%.\u201CPoverty has the face of a child\u201D, emphasised Unicef\u2019s report, as around 1 in 4 children in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain is poor. In addition, as a consequence of the crisis, 1 out of every 6 children live in poverty despite two members of their family being in employment, due to their salary not reaching the minimum income levels. Unicef has stressed that the crisis is especially hitting children and youngsters, who are the future of our society. For this reason, Unicef has asked for specific policies to fight child poverty, as was done several years ago with poverty affecting the elderly. The study ends with data from 2010, but the economic crisis has continued, the number of unemployed people has increased and the budget for social policies has not increased, warned Unicef.
In Catalonia 325,000 people are classed as poor, which means that they live in a family with a common revenue inferior to \u20AC16.476 per year. This means that almost 1 in 4 Catalan kids are poor. Marta Arias, Unicef Spain\u2019s Director for Awareness and Child Policies, ensured that the causes for the increase in child poverty in Catalonia has not been studied properly. She also emphasised that the current situation is probably worse, since the economic situation has not recovered and governments have implemented budget cuts.
In the last number of years, child poverty has increased and intensified. The person who is poor, is now poorer. The poverty risk rate of people under 18 in homes were nobody works is 62%; in those homes with 1 person working is 29% and in those with 2 people working is 16%. This means that 1 in 6 children in Catalonia live in poverty despite having two family members working. Labour fragility is the main cause for the risk.
Immigrants are particularly affected by work fragility and unemployment, and consequently so are their children. The poverty risk rate among children in Catalonia whose parents are non-EU citizens is 45%, one of the highest in Europe. However, the same rate for children with parents born in Spain drops to 18%.
Poverty risk is higher among mono-parental and large families, around 48%. However, 70% of poor children live in families with two adults, 20% in large families, and 10% in mono-parental homes.
The report also indicates that in 2005 the average public investment in children and families in the EU-25 countries (all the European Union member states except Romania and Bulgaria) represented 2.1% of the GDP. In Spain it represented 1.1% and in Catalonia 0.8%.
Arias explained that one of the main consequences of the child poverty increase is the worsening of the quality and quantity of food consumed, and thus the worsening of children\u2019s health. In addition, problems accessing health services not covered by the Social Security system have also been detected, such as optometrists and dentists.
In addition, problems also arise in education. Often children are forced to change to a smaller house, and thus many lose their study space. In addition, some families cannot pay for school books or the child\u2019s school lunch, as well as for excursions or activities outside the school. Arias emphasised that if some children do not undertake specific activities at school, they will not do it at home either. All these elements combined might lead to increasing school failure.
Poverty also affects children and youngsters on an emotional level. Unicef warned that minors go through tense situations at home. Many times they witness fights and see the consumption of alcohol and other drugs increase among their parents. In addition, they cannot participate in some of their friends\u2019 activities that involve spending money, such as celebrating birthdays. Arias explained that many children and youngsters in these situations suffer and \u201Cfeel guilty\u201D.