MORE than 165'000 people in the Balearics (16.8 percent of the population) are living below the poverty line, according to a poll about quality of life by the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

According to the statistics, the percentage of people living below the poverty line grew from 15.2 percent in 2004 to 16.8 percent in 2005. To this must be added the number of households (one in three) on the islands which do not have any money for unforeseen household expenses, and the same number cannot afford a week's holiday.

The poll also dealt with health and education questions with some surprising results. During 2005 some 61'000 Balearic citizens did not receive any form of medical treatment. The year before the figure was just 19'400.

This is not due to the waiting lists, as these have been cut from 24.9 percent in 2004 to 5.5 percent in 2005, but the poll did not give the reasons.