Economic growth and development do not necessarily reduce poverty. There is no doubt, however, that recession has a particularly negative impact on the most vulnerable members of society.
Social exclusion goes beyond poverty (although the two tend to go hand in hand); it reflects people’s inability to exercise their basic social rights as citizens. People are excluded when they lack the personal, social or economic resources they require to exercise their citizenship.
People do not become homeless overnight. Generally speaking, severe social exclusion is the outcome of a long and painful process.
We need to dispose of a network of basic social resources to fight social exclusion. But this is not enough. These people also need relation, dialogue and company on the path towards change, to facilitate their re-encounter with themselves and with their social milieu.
Social exclusion in Spain
- Spain ranks third in terms of poverty rates in the EU, only overtaken by Romania and Lithuania. (Eurostat 2010)
- Roughly 22% of households are living below the poverty line. (Caritas 2011)
- Over 11.5 million people are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. (EAPN 2010)
- 1.5 million people are in situations of residential exclusion, ie, homelessness. (Social Inclusion Observatory 2008)
- More than half a million households have no income of any kind. (EPA 2011)
- 15,000 to 30,000 people live on the streets. (INE)
- Social expenditures per capita in Spain are roughly 15 percentage points below the European average, the gap with Germany standing at 25 points. (Eurostat 2010, with purchasing power parities)
- The volume of social requirements facing NGOs is growing whereas the volume of resources required to meet them is shrinking.