Fri, 21 Oct 2011 20:50:25 GMT

Spain's poverty rates up



Madrid, Oct 21 (IANS/EFE) Nearly a quarter of Spain's 45 million people are poor, and the figures have been steadily rising since 2009.

The National Statistics Institute or INE said Thursday that 21.8 percent of Spaniards now live under the poverty line, up from 20.7 percent in 2010 and 19.5 percent in 2009.

Those at the greatest risk are children under 16 years of age, according to INE, which emphasised that poverty in this group had risen from 23.3 percent in 2009 to 26.5 percent in 2011.

About 26.1 percent of Spanish homes complained that it was 'difficult' or 'very difficult' to make it to the end of the month on their available funds.

Nearly 36 percent of Spanish households said they do not have the ability to meet unforeseen expenditures.

Almost 40 percent moaned that they cannot afford to go on a week's vacation.

INE also found that 6.1 percent of Spanish homes were behind in their payments for their main living quarters - including mortgage or rent and utilities - in the two months prior to the survey.

The average annual income per Spanish household in 2010 - the latest available figure - was 24,890 euros (about $34,000), a drop of 4.4 percent compared with the previous year.

The INE sets the poverty level at 60 percent of the median income per consumption unit, in this case a household.

--IANS/EFE

rd/mr

©Indo-Asian News Service

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