Tenuous gains made in the fight against poverty over the last four years as Spain began easing out of its last economic crisis could be erased in one fell swoop by the negative economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, pushing as many as 700,000 more Spaniards into poverty, warns Spanish non-governmental organization Oxfam Intermón.
In a just-released report titled Una reconstrucción justa es posible y necesaria (A Just Recovery is Possible and Necessary), the Spanish affiliate of the UK-based international anti-poverty and overseas development NGO Oxfam warns that with Spain’s GDP falling this year by at least 9 percent an unemployment expected to reach 19 percent, the uneven economic impact of the pandemic could increase the number of impoverished people nationwide to 10.8 million.
► Download and read [in Spanish] the full Oxfam Intermón report, here …
That figure would represent an increase of more than 700,000 Spaniards living at or below the poverty line, translating into a hike in relative poverty among Spaniards of 1.6 percentage points, impacting 23.1 percent of the population as compared to 21.5 percent before the appearance of COVID-19.
The pandemic-related economic downturn will hit mainly women, migrants and unskilled workers throughout Spain, but the NGO says there will be a marked increase in general poverty in some regions in particular, notably the Balearic Islands, Castilla y León, Aragon and Catalonia.
In absolute terms, the region hardest hit stands to be Andalucia, with an estimated 201,000 additional people being pushed below the poverty line as a result of the COVID-related economic downturn.
In contrast, Oxfam says, in just 79 days since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, the 23 Spaniards (18 men and five women) who are on the Forbes list of billionaires have seen the value of their wealth increase between the 18th of March and 4th of March by just over 19.2 billion euros.
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