Madrid (EFE) per person per year, according to a study by the High Commissioner against Child Poverty.
Growing up in a household in a situation of poverty means fewer opportunities to achieve a high level of education, greater job insecurity, lower-paid jobs, and greater risks of suffering from physical and mental illnesses.
The report presented this Monday, in an act attended by the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, analyzes the social and economic impact of child poverty in Spain and quantifies the costs of the effects on education, employment, labor income and health in adulthood, also calculating the loss of income and the worsening of health and quality of life.
“Maintaining such high child poverty rates, more than 27%, means that all citizens of this country are 5% poorer,” explained the High Commissioner against Child Poverty, Ernesto Gasco.
For the First Vice President and Minister of Economy and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, “the cost of child poverty is devastating”: “A rich country like Spain cannot have poor children, for reasons of social justice but also of economic rationality” .
According to the calculations of the evaluation, carried out with the collaboration of the “la Caixa” Foundation, a person who lived in a situation of poverty in their adolescence today earns around 5,130 euros gross per year less.
In addition, they have a 36% probability of being overweight and 12% more likely to be depressed. These individual costs also entail costs for society as a whole, explained the researchers Libertad González and Olga Cantó.
Therefore, taking into account the costs associated with the employment situation and loss of health, child poverty in Spain amounts to at least 63,079 million euros per year, which is equivalent to 5.1% of GDP in 2019. .
The High Commissioner has opted to redouble his efforts. “We know the cost of doing nothing and of having been denialists for a decade,” he asserted, who has announced a second study “that sheds light on the best policies in the country’s challenge” to combat child poverty.
Impact on health and education costs
Childhood poverty is associated with a 30% higher probability of having poor overall health, a 36% higher probability of being overweight and a 12% higher probability of having depression in adulthood.
Adding the health costs and those associated with the loss of quality of life, it is estimated that the total cost of excess weight is around 5,500 million euros per year and around 579 million euros in the case of depression. In total, the cost in terms of health is 6,079 million euros, 0.5% of GDP.
People who were in poverty in their adolescence are 28% less likely to achieve a higher level of education.
Impact on labor income in adulthood
Growing up in poverty is associated with lower employment levels for women and lower wages for men. People who have been in a situation of poverty in their first years of life earn 5,130 gross euros less per year, especially women, who stop earning, on average, about 600 gross euros more per year.
This salary loss is explained by the level of studies achieved, as well as by various factors that affect the employment situation, have explained the authors of the report. Those people who suffered from poverty in adolescence are 12% less likely to work with permanent contracts and 14% more likely to work with temporary contracts.
Less collection for the State
The State collects almost 3,000 euros less per person in taxes and contributions related to work because of child poverty. For society as a whole, poverty generates a cost in the economy in terms of lost productivity.
Taking into account the percentage of minors living in poverty in 2019 (27%), and the percentage of GDP that corresponds to labor income (46%), child poverty generates an annual cost in terms of productivity employment, of approximately what is equivalent to about 57,000 million euros per year.
“Breaking the circle of poverty from childhood, as well as being a matter of social justice, is of collective intelligence”, concluded Gasco, at the presentation of the study, which was also attended by the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, and the Assistant Secretary General of the OECD, Yoshiki Takeuchi.
Sánchez commits to more measures in the face of the “infamy” of child poverty
The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has promised this Monday to continue adopting more measures to fight against the “infamy” of child poverty because, he said, it represents “a morally unacceptable, socially unsustainable and economically suicidal gap”.
Sánchez made this commitment explicit at the closing of the presentation of the report on “The cost of child poverty in Spain, an analysis that reveals that the high level of this poverty entails health, educational and labor costs that add up to 63,079 million euros per year, 5.1% of GDP in 2019 or 1,300 euros per person per year.
According to the Chief Executive, this is a “devastating conclusion” before which measures must be continued because “no decent society can resign itself to this injustice.”
“No society should get used to deprivation in childhood and that this is a sort of condemnation to having fewer job opportunities in the future and undermining health in adulthood,” he added.
That is why he has said that his government is not resigned to accepting this “infamy” and will continue to promote efficient public policies that bridge this gap.
Although there is still much to be done, he has vindicated the advances in the fight against child poverty that progressive governments in Spain have carried out against the executives that he has described as neoliberals.
Sánchez has highlighted the decisions that have been adopted with him as president, among which he has cited the approval of the minimum vital income (more than 42% of its beneficiaries have said that they are minors and six out of ten are women), the increase in benefits for dependent children and “courageous measures” such as the increase in the minimum wage by 47% in five years.