Quarter of Spanish children at risk of poverty: Unicef

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Madrid, Nov 17 (IANS/EFE) One in four children in Spain live in homes at risk of poverty, Unicef said Tuesday in a report that identifies the offspring of immigrants as “especially vulnerable”.

While in 2006 the poverty rate for households with children born in Spain was 21.2 percent, it rose to 52 percent in the case of children born outside the European Union, a difference that becomes even more acute in cases of severe poverty, where the comparable figures are 4 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

The report thus places Spain among the countries with the highest juvenile poverty rate among the 27 countries of the EU, with only Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia and Italy in worse condition.

“Being a poor child in Spain doesn’t mean going hungry, but malnutrition is a definite possibility; it doesn’t mean having no access to education, but it does mean having trouble paying the expenses and dropping out of school at an earlier age; it doesn’t mean not being able to see a doctor, but paying for some treatments is a problem,” Unicef’s Marta Arias said here at the presentation of the report.

The study “Childhood in Spain 2010-2011″ reveals that 24.1 percent of minors live in homes with an income below 60 percent of the national average, which for a family of two adults and two children stands at 16,000 euros ($22,000) a year.

In single-parent households and in families with two or more children, the poverty rate soars to between 19 and 25 percentage points, according to the report, which points to other factors besides being immigrants that make children particularly vulnerable: belonging to a minority, being handicapped, or living with disabled people.


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