The regional body presented its latest findings yesterday which conclude that 65'000 children under the age of 18 are living in households where the annual income is less than 17'600 euros - the poverty threshold for a family with two children.
The region's record unemployment has had the largest affect on living conditions in the Balearics and family unemployment is now running at a rate of 28 percent. And, substantial falls in income directly lead to a significant drop in standards of living, especially for children. But, according to Unicef, job insecurity, the lack of disposable income and the inability for families to save is also having a negative affect. Being a poor child in Spain does not necessary mean they are going to go hungry, but it does mean that it is increasingly unlikely that they will have access to a balanced and proper diet and a stable education. It also means that as they grow older, they will have greater problems in covering their living costs and that will mean bunking off school to make some extra cash and that leads to greater problems in life, Maria Antonia Caimari, the President of Unicef in the Balearics said yesterday.
This is the first time the Balearic branch has carried out a study of the welfare of children in the region and the hardships they, and their families, are facing as a result of the recession and government austerity policy which has led to the significant reduction of social service aid and assistance. The recession is not the children's fault, but they are the ones who suffer the consequences most, Caimari said, adding that Unicef hopes that the Balearic government will take on board the findings of the study and act responsibly and accordingly to correct some of the mistakes it has made. If the government fails to act, it will find itself paying the price for a disenfranchised society in the mid to short term, she underlined.