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Spain's shocking north-south divide revealed in latest poverty statistics

Jessica Jones · 17 Sep 2015, 15:00

Published: 17 Sep 2015 15:00 GMT+02:00

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Spain has often grappled with the cliché of a rich industrial north versus a poor rural south and a new study has done nothing to refute the stereotype.

Spain’s ten poorest towns are all located in the south of the country according to a study released on September 17th by AIS consultancy, using data collected by Spain’s Office of National Statistics and Habits Big Data.

Researchers looked at towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants and discovered that, apart from the capital of Madrid, Spain’s richest towns were all located in the north of the country, while its poorest were all in the south.

The poorest municipality in Spain is Ceuta, Spain's north African enclave bordering Morocco, where 44.6 percent of people are at risk of poverty.

This is followed by the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Cádiz, where 38.5 percent of people are at risk of poverty, and Lorca in Murcia, where the figure is 38.3 percent.

The Spanish towns least at risk of poverty (province in parenthesis).

At the other end of the scale, Spain’s richest town is the capital of the Basque Country, Vitoria, where a mere 7.3 percent of people are at risk of poverty.

Close behind are two more northern towns: Getxo, also in the Basque Country, where only 7.5 percent of people are at risk of poverty, and the town made famous for its bull-running festival, Pamplona, where the figure is 8.1 percent.

Story continues below…

Many northern cities are well below the national average of 22 percent of Spaniards who are at risk of poverty. 

The northern Spanish region of the Basque Country, where five of the richest towns are located, has traditionally been one of Spain’s main industrial hubs, and today is home to thriving aeronautics and energy industries. The region has Spain’s highest GDP per capita, at €30,051 ($32,600).

The southern Spanish region of Andalusia, on the other hand, has Spain’s lowest incomes per capita, at €18,000. 

The economic crisis hit low-income Spaniards the hardest, according to the report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), released in May of this year. 
The poorest 10 percent of the population lost 13 percent of their real incomes each year between 2007 and 2011. The top 10 percent, in comparison, lost 1.4 percent.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

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