Child poverty is not only a violation of the rights of children and adolescents. It is also an economic burden on society as a whole. The fact that the poor are children means money for all citizens, as organizations such as Unicef and Save the Children warn. In Spain, where the data is very high, 27% of minors live below the poverty line, the bill is very relevant. Specifically, the economic value reaches at least 63,000 million euros per year, according to a groundbreaking study presented this Monday.
For the High Commissioner against Child Poverty, the investigation was led by economics professor Olga Canto and researcher Libertad González from the Universities of Alcalá de Henares and Pompe Fabra, respectively, in Barcelona. Economists have estimated the entire country’s economic cost due to the presence of minors in poverty.
The exact result: 63,079 million euros per year, which is equal to 5.1% of GDP. If you try to individualize this cost, it means an invoice of about “€1,300 per person per year”.
The president of the government, Pedro Sánchez, who closed the days of the presentation of the study, called the figures “devastating”. At €63,000 million a year, “this is the cost of child poverty for the whole society,” he reiterated.
The president emphasized that the executive branch is determined to use concrete public measures to combat child poverty, which will not be solved by the “invisible hand of the market” as some believe, he warned. Among the policies already approved, Pedro mentioned a minimum living income, an aid of 50 to 100 euros per child in low-income homes and an increase in scholarships to facilitate the education of young people in these homes. “We’re going to keep working,” Sanchez added.
Employment costs and poor health
Estimating the cost of poverty is based on two realities. On the one hand, measuring the cost of childhood labor in poverty, which makes it more difficult to advance in education and, later on, the uncertainty of adults in the labor market.
For example, people who experienced poverty during adolescence were 12% less likely to work on permanent contracts and 14% more likely to work on temporary contracts, the study found.
Because of the burden of poverty, youth in poverty often end up in low-paying jobs later, more difficulty finding work, or difficulty adding hours to their workdays to earn a living wage.
For all these reasons, the results show that “in Spain, people who were in a state of poverty in the first years of life earn on average 5,130 gross euros less per year than those who were not.” “This effect is particularly intense for women, who cut off an average of around €600 a year in gross income,” the study adds.
Overall, for the country as a whole, experts calculate that workplace costs cost all of us “around €57,000 million” per year.
The second main pillar that the study analyzes is the health costs of child poverty, due to the poor health conditions that result in minors in this situation. It focuses on two areas: mental health, most likely to suffer from depression, and obesity and overweight.
“Adding the costs associated with reduced health and quality of life, the total cost of being overweight is estimated to be around €5,500 million per year, and around €579 million for depression,” he says. in research. . The researchers admit that the cost could be much higher because they are only looking at these two aspects.
The High Commissioner for the fight against child poverty, Ernesto Gasco, drew attention to the results of the study in order to continue the fight against this social problem. “We wanted to shed light after decades of political denial,” said Gasco, who warned that there is still “denial” among some actors.
Source: El Diario