The latest report from the EAPN network in Spain warns of the risk of exclusion of almost a third of the population
The pandemic has triggered poverty in the Region, beyond its impact on health. And, especially, it is reflected in the evolution of so-called severe poverty, which measures the most intense degree of scarcity of economic resources. According to the latest report from the European Network to Fight Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Spanish State (EAPN-ES), some 169,000 Murcians are in a situation of severe poverty, 19,000 more than the previous year. But, in addition, another 115,000 people, 51,000 more than the previous year, suffer severe material deprivation (PMS), an indicator that indicates the population that cannot access specific products such as eating meat, maintaining the appropriate temperature in the home, being at day in payments and face unforeseen expenses.
This is extracted from this latest report on ‘The state of poverty in Spain’, presented yesterday by the EAPN-ES network. And, after the significant reduction in very severe poverty that had been registered since 2016, in 2020 it increased by 3.3 percentage points again, to stand at 7.6% of the entire population of the Region. A “high” increase, since it implies that the number of households whose income per unit of consumption is less than 40% of the regional median income is 77% higher than in 2019. Furthermore, it is six tenths above the the national average and is the fifth highest figure in the country, only surpassed by the Valencian Community, the Canary Islands, Andalusia and Extremadura.
However, despite this increase, severe deprivation improves by 16% compared to 2015 (Agenda 2030 and SDG goals), which, combined with the increase in population, means that there are 16,000 fewer people in severe material deprivation compared to to that year.
281 euros per month per person
For their part, the families that are considered to live in severe poverty are those that do not exceed 6,417 euros per unit of consumption per year; or, what is the same, where each person must survive with less than 281 euros per month (in the case of a nucleus with two adults and two minors). In this sense, Murcia’s severe poverty rate last year was 11.2%, 1.2 percentage points more than in 2019.
Likewise, almost a third of the population of the Region, exactly 29.7%, is at risk of poverty and social exclusion, beyond the improvement experienced in recent times and the fact that in 2020 there was a positive evolution in this regard. , despite the burden of the Covid crisis.
Employment: 9% live in households with low work activity
The BITH indicator refers to people between 0 and 60 years old who live in households in which less than 20% of their total employment potential is worked. 9.2% of the population under 60 years of age residing in the Region does so in this type of low intensity household. The rate is the same as in 2019, and it comes from a five-year period of consecutive reductions. Despite this, it is far from returning to the figures of the beginning of 2008.
Rent: 3,195 euros less per person than the average
The average income per consumption unit in the Region is 14,921 euros (9,849 euros per person). The figure is 3,195 euros lower than the national average and maintains the Region as the second with the lowest average income in the country, both per person and per consumption units, and only higher than Extremadura. In this last year, the average income per consumption unit increased by 9.4%, that is, more than the national average.
Pensions: Almost half are below the threshold
In the Region, 119,675 people – some 24,000 more than the previous year – receive a pension whose amount is less than the minimum considered not to be poor. In other words, almost half, 47.7% of all pensions received by citizens of the Region of Murcia are below the poverty line, which in 2020 stands at 688 euros per month. If only widowhood pensions are considered, the index rises to 61.6%.
Family support: Difficulties soar compared to 2008
People who cannot afford a meal of meat, poultry or fish every other day represent 50% more than those who existed in 2008, although it is not part of the index measurement. However, among the values that increase when measuring severe material deprivation, we must highlight those people who cannot afford to eat protein twice a week, whose values triple and grow to 8.1%.
Technology and equipment: Up to 56% lack a computer
The number of those who cannot have their own computer represents 56.6% more in the Region than the national average. The rest of the measurement items, with the exception of people who cannot afford a car, are higher than the rest of the country in values between 15% and 31%. The number of people who cannot keep the house at a suitable temperature also more than doubled and grew to 13.4%.
Based on the Arope indicator, which analyzes income, employment and living conditions to establish the risk threshold, it is estimated that some 447,000 people residing in the regional territory are in a situation of risk of poverty, which is up to 26,000 less than the accounted for the previous year. However, it cannot be ignored that the values prior to the first financial crisis have not yet been reached.
The comparison with 2008 shows an increase of 2.2 percentage points, which represents an increase of 8% in the period as a whole. However, it is a lower rate than that registered in the national territory as a whole.
In its analysis, the EAPN network, made up of different non-profit organizations – chaired in the Region by Rosa Cano – reveals that the poverty data for this year support certain favorable evolution, particularly with respect to 2015, designated as the control year. of the 2030 Agenda and in which the Arope rate reached 44.9%, the worst in its entire historical series. Therefore, the risk index decreased by 9.1 percentage points and 120,000 fewer people. Undoubtedly, a positive aspect in the context of the increase that has occurred at the national level.
In addition, despite the increase in this last year, the data also improved compared to 2015. Thus, the Arope rate fell 1.6 percentage points, which meant the removal of some 71,000 people from severe poverty. Of course, the figures are still well above those registered before the crisis, affecting 8.2% of the population, which represents 52,000 more people in severe poverty.
The fifth by the tail
Regarding the risk of poverty and exclusion, the decrease of 2.2 points over the previous year places the Region as the second autonomous region that has reduced this rate the most in percentage terms (6.9%). However, the regional rate is 12% higher than the average and it is the fifth region with the highest Arope index, only behind Extremadura, the Canary Islands, Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha.
For its part, the overall poverty rate in the Region is reduced this year and is now 25%, the second lowest figure in the entire series. Although it is the fifth highest of all regions, only lower than the latter autonomies.
Up to 376,000 poor in the Region; and more women than men
There are 376,000 poor Murcians, of whom 194,000 are women and 182,000 are men. However, due to the decrease in the poverty rate, the difference with the national average is cut, which becomes 4 percentage points. It must be taken into account that Murcia was one of the autonomous communities that suffered the consequences of the crisis that began in 2008 with the greatest intensity. In fact, a direct impact of this entire period is the existence of 57,000 more people at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Even since then, the Arope, poverty, severe poverty and Severe Material Deprivation (PMS) records are higher than the national average in percentages that range between 8.6% and 19%. Although, with respect to 2015, the poverty rate as such has been reduced by 6.8 points (21.4% less), which means that 9,000 people have been lifted out of poverty in that period. And, with respect to 2008, the difference is cut half a point. Even so, due to the population increase, there are 28,000 more people in poverty than there were already thirteen years ago.