• Spain's news in English
Spain ranks among worst for kids at risk of poverty
Children in a classroom in Barcelona. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP.

Spain ranks among worst for kids at risk of poverty

Emma Anderson · 15 Apr 2016, 13:20

Published: 15 Apr 2016 13:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Apr 2016 13:20 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Spain was ranked the sixth worst developed country for childhood income inequality, according to a "report card" by Unicef released on Thursday.

More than one-third of Spanish children (36 percent) live at risk of poverty or social exclusion and inequality there has grown more in Spain than in most other developed countries, with the income gap exceeding 60 percent, according to the report.

Only Romania - at the very bottom - Bulgaria, Mexico, Greece and Israel were ranked worse than Spain.

"This measure of bottom-end inequality captures how far the poorest children are being allowed to fall behind the ‘average’ child in each country," the report states.

Researchers analyzed 41 countries from the European Union and within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for changes in inequality over time.

Denmark was at the top of the charts for the lowest levels of inequality in income, health, education and life satisfaction. Israel fell at the very bottom.

Spain in particular has been hit hard by the global economic crisis with one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe and this has trickled down to impacting the well-being of its youngest citizens.

"The financial and economic crisis of the recent years has impacted in particular boys and girls in developed countries," the Unicef report on Spain states.

"The past few years have become a laboratory for the effects of inequality for the most vulnerable members of society."

Since 2008, Spanish children's median income fell, but the poorest 10 percent saw an even sharper drop, "leaving the poorest children increasingly lagging behind," according to Unicef.

But despite Spain's youth facing steeper challenges when it comes to battling financial struggles, the country has been able to improve conditions for health and nutrition for all children. 

Spain was in the top ten for having a low inequality gap when it came to health, and took 12th place when it came to education.

Story continues below…

In fact, Only Spain and the United States showed improvement in all health indicators since 2002. 

Still, in the category of life satisfaction Spanish children fell in the bottom third, meaning there was a sizeable gap between how happy kids reported feeling.

Unicef called on the Spanish government to make a pact to fight against childhood poverty.

"The Report Card provides a clear reminder that the well-being of children in any country is not an inevitable outcome of individual circumstances or of the level of economic development but is shaped by policy choices," said Dr. Sarah Cook, director of the Unicef Office of Research, Innocenti, in a statement. 

"As our understanding of the long term impact of inequality grows, it becomes increasingly clear that governments must place priority on enhancing the well-being of all children today, and give them the opportunity to achieve their potential."

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

Emma Anderson (emma.anderson@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available