International Day for Eradication of Poverty shows vulnerability of Portuguese society
More than a third of Portuguese families earn just €833 gross and are unable to pay for unexpected expenses.
On the day that marks International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Pordata – the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation’s statistical database – paints a stark picture of the level of poverty among the Portuguese public.
Using data from INE national statistics institute, Pordata shows that in 2021 (the most recent information), “based on personal income tax returns submitted each year by households, “more than a third (36%) lived on a maximum of €833 a month.
“If we add the next income bracket, it turns out that more than half the declarations (53%) corresponded to incomes of up to €1,125 gross per month,” says Pordata, emphasising that 688,000 tax households were in the minimum IRS bracket (equivalent to €417 per month).
Taking into account declared income, “20% of the richest tax households earned 3.5 times more than the 20% of the poorest households” and “in municipalities such as Lisbon, Porto, Oeiras and Cascais, the difference is five times more”.
Based on some of the results of the indicators on material and social deprivation from the Survey of Living Conditions and Incomes (ICOR) – referring to the first half of 2022 – Pordata points out that at that time 30% of families were unable to cope with unexpected expenses and 6.1% reported having delays in some of their rent, installments or credit payments.
The percentage of the public who say they are unable to heat their homes properly has increased, and Portugal was the 4th country in the European Union with the highest proportion of people reporting this inability, writes Lusa.
On the other hand, “the proportion of the public unable to afford a meal of meat, fish or vegetarian equivalent every 2 days (from 2.4% to 3%) and of people unable to afford one week’s holiday a year away from home (from 36.7% to 37.2%) also rose slightly”.
INE’s most recent indicators on poverty relate to 2021 incomes and show that at that time 1.7 million Portuguese were at risk of poverty, i.e. living on less than €551 a month, and that 18.5% of children and young people were poor, as well as showing that the risk of poverty in families with two adults and two children has increased.
With regard to the evolution of inflation and the purchasing power of Portuguese people, Pordata points out that in 2022 there was the highest inflation rate in the last 30 years and that since February there has been a generalised increase in the price of goods and services, largely due to the war in Ukraine.
“You have to go back 30 years to find an inflation rate higher than that of 2022 (7.8% vs. 9.6% in 1992). Since records began, inflation peaked in 1984 (28.5%) and since mid-1995 inflation has always been below 4.5%. In recent years, we have to go back to 2017 to find a rise in prices of more than 1.3% per cent,” says the data compiler.
As a result, the purchasing power of Portuguese people has decreased and the €760 of the national minimum wage is equivalent to €678, as products in the shopping basket that represent family spending have risen by an average of 12.2%.
Pordata also explains that in terms of housing, in 2022, house prices increased by 90% compared to 2015 – compared to 48% for the European Union average, while salaries rose by only 20%.
Correio da Manhã adds to the dismal picture today, saying that over 200 families in the Algarve are receiving food support, via the Refood initiative in Faro, whose volunteers predict “even more will start needing support in November, because many people employed in tourism and catering will be losing their jobs” over the winter.
According to Refood’s Paula Matias “there are increasingly more middle class people asking for help as their rents and expenses have increased, and they don’t have enough money for food”.
The number of foreigners asking for help “is also rising”, says the paper.ND