1 in 7 children live in poverty in OECD countries
How is life in general going? An OECD study has measured the 11 dimensions of well-being today. Among its conclusions, it shows that the OECD countries follow different patterns with respect to their strengths and weaknesses in terms of well-being, and that there are inequalities that mainly affect the well-being of the family and that of children in particular.
The disparities in welfare vary widely from one country to another and involve much more than shortfalls in family income. In several aspects, the average citizen of the OECD lives better now than in 2009. In most of the OECD countries family income began a slow recovery with respect to the levels reached in the economic crisis. The countries that experience the most serious falls in family income since 2009 such as Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain continue to be affected in other areas such as high unemployment, lower wages and lower housing affordability.
The lives of children in OECD countries
All children do not have the same level of well-being in the OECD countries. In fact, the study notes that 1 in 7 children live in poverty, almost 10 percent of children live in unemployed families and 1 in 10 is a victim of bullying.
The inequalities in the well-being of children related to the family socioeconomic situation are:
- Children from families with greater resources have better health, higher copetetences, greater civic commitment and better relationships with their parents and peers.
- Students from more favored families are less likely to have a sense of belonging to the school.
Therefore, these results suggest that welfare inequalities among adults become inequalities of opportunity for their children.
The place of family residence and well-being
The place of residence of the people has a great influence on the life of the human being, especially on personal safety, atmospheric pollution, employment opportunities and access to basic services. Thus, in 2014 the difference in the unemployment rate between the regions with the best and the worst performance in Turkey, Spain and Italy was close to 20 percentage points. This figure is almost as big as the difference in the national average of unemployment between Greece and Norway.
How is life in Spain?
In recent years, Spain has faced several challenges in relation to the material well-being of its inhabitants. Average disposable household income per capita and average income fell significantly between 2009 and 2013, the years of the economic crisis. Spanish employees also have very little job security. Between 2009 and 2014, the long-term unemployment rate increased by 8.7 percentage points, the second highest rate in the OECD.
Spain has a good life-work and health balance. Life expectancy for Spaniards is 83.2 years, one of the highest in the OECD and free time (dedicated to leisure and personal care by full-time employees) is also higher than the OECD average.
Regarding educational attainment, Spain is located at the lowest level of the OECD: only 55.6% of adult Spaniards of productive age finished at least upper secondary education, in contrast to the OECD average of 77.2%.
The skills of Spanish adults in reading and mathematics are also low on average compared to adults in other OECD countries. In social support networks, 94.7% of Spaniards report having friends or relatives they can count on when they need it, compared to the OECD average of 88%.
The welfare of children in Spain
The material well-being of Spanish children reflects the difficult economic conditions that prevail in Spain. Thus, the income poverty rate of children is one of the highest in the OECD: 21.7% of Spanish children are members of a family with an available income less than half of the average Spanish income.
On the other hand, Spanish children report a high level of health, and the adolescence rate among adolescents is the second lowest in the OECD.
However, in "ni-nis" we are above average. 10.7% of Spanish adolescents aged 15 to 19 do not work or study or are studying, a figure above the OECD average which is set at 7.1%.
The skills of reading and creative problem solving of Spanish students is below the average level of the OECD. At the same time, 20.7% of Spanish students feel very pressured by homework, the second highest percentage of the OECD.
Spain is classified in the upper end of the OECD in personal safety of children. And is that Spanish children have the highest life satisfaction in the area of the CDE.
Marisol Nuevo Espín
Advice: OECD Report How is life going? 2015 Measurement of well-being