Madrid/Palma de Majorca.—More than a quarter of the population of the Balearic Islands (25.8 percent) was at risk of poverty and of becoming social outcasts in 2010, a European Network Survey on poverty revealed yesterday through its branch in Madrid.

A spokesman said that the figures for the Balearics in 2010 were a 2 percent increase in comparison with 2009 and that the spectre of poverty in the Islands was higher than the national average (25.5%).

The Balearics is the region with the 7th highest percentage of its population threatened with poverty. Those with even greater proportions are Valencia with 26.3 percent of the resident community at risk of sliding into social exclusion, an increase of 4 percent in 2010 compared to figures for 2009; Castilla-La Mancha, 30.9% (0.7% more); Andalucia, 35.9% (2.9%); Murcia, 36.1% (4%); the Canary Islands, 35.3% (no change from 2009); and Extremadura, 41.5% (3%).

Those regions where poverty risk is less than the national average are Galicia (23.3%); Asturias (18.4%); Cantabria (17%); the Basque Country (12.6%); Navarre (9.7%); La Rioja (24.9%); Aragon (15.9%); Madrid (18.1%), Castilla y Leon (24.6%) and Catalonia (19.8%).

Sub-standard living
Network researchers said that they used European-wide guidelines to measure poverty levels and concluded that in 2010, more than 11.5 million people, 25.5 percent of the population were at risk of sliding into sub-standard living conditions compared to 10.6 million in 2009. “The difference between the figures for 2009 and 2010 show that poverty and the risk of social exclusion are making clear advances,” researchers claimed yesterday. “Whatever measures that the government may have put in place to halt the increase, are proving ineffective. There is no indication at all that poverty is on the wane.” “It is an indisputable sign,” they furthered, “of the effect that the economic crisis is having on people's welfare.” The survey suggested that the government in Spain needs to urgently rethink its social policies. Such action also needs to address the inequality between regions, a spokesman said.