Spain, at the head of the euro zone by workers at risk of poverty

Having a job in Spain is no guarantee of escaping poverty. It threatens 15.6% of the employed, a percentage that is almost five points higher than the euro zone average. It is also the highest data recorded in our country in seven years.

Spain is one of the European countries with the highest percentage of the total population at risk of poverty. 27.8% for the total and 26.5% if it is limited to those over 18 years of age. In both cases, these are levels that only the Greeks surpass.

The rate is much higher among the unemployed: it reaches 64%, although here the relationship with the rest of the eurozone does change. Spain falls back to third place on the list, behind Germany (78.2%) and the Netherlands (73.2).

As surprising as these data may seem, it must be remembered that the unemployment rate of both countries was in 2021 almost four times lower than that of Spain.

Workers at risk of poverty accounted for 15.6% of the employed. Also in this variable the same comparison with the rest of the countries is maintained.

Although these data remind us that unemployment is the leading cause of poverty among people of working age, the impact on those who have a job should not be minimized. In 2021, the total number of employed people in Spain multiplied almost six times that of the unemployed.

In addition, it is a growing threat: the 2021 figure is the highest since 2015, when Eurostat began its historical series. It is 1.3 percentage points higher than that registered in 2019.

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The data shows the impact of the pandemic, on the one hand, but also shows that the measures put in place to prevent it did not give the expected result, even at a time when employment was registering a rapid recovery after the paralysis of activity in 2020.

As a consequence of this, last year Spain was at the head of the euro zone due to the poverty of its workers. A variable in which, again, we were only behind Greece.

The analysis of the situations of the workers yields more information. On the one hand, despite the fact that the gender wage gap in Spain stands at 9.4% (according to the latest Eurostat data, corresponding to 2020), the risk of poverty threatens male workers more: 16.7 % vs. 14.8%.

The differences between the type of employment are also large. The rate of wage earners at risk of poverty is 20 points lower than that of those who do not work as employees, although on this point the statistics do not specify what type of employees they are.

These data are current at a time when the reform of the RETA, the special Social Security regime for the self-employed, is being processed in Congress, with which the Government promises a reduction in the contributions of workers with less income to while its performance will be improved.

But one of the most striking questions is how the risk of poverty is compared based on the working day. Taking into account that Spain , it would seem logical to expect that they will also lead the rate of workers at risk of poverty.

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But it doesn’t work like that. The percentage of 21.4% of Spanish part-time workers at risk of poverty exceeds the 21% of Greece but is well below the 26% of Portugal. Although even greater is the distance of 13% from the average of the euro zone.

But without underestimating the impact of underemployment, it must be taken into account that in 2021 86.1% of Spaniards worked full time. yes

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