In La Rioja there are 5,600 households without labor income that survive poorly with subsidies

In La Rioja there are 5,600 households without labor income that survive poorly with subsidies
In La Rioja there are 5,600 households without labor income that survive poorly with subsidies

Behind the labor market statistics hides the drama of many families that survive poorly on subsidies and public aid. In too many homes, even the smallest whim is a luxury item that they cannot afford. Money barely comes in and whoever enters is predestined to cover basic needs.

The Active Population Survey (EPA) recently released by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) hides one of those realities that overshadows any positive employment data. The summary of the data for the first quarter of this year leaves no room for optimism: 2,300 more unemployed and fewer employed, 1,300 jobs destroyed and 4,000 fewer employed. But beyond the large figures, there is one piece of information that offers an image of the true dimension of the ordeal that many Riojans are going through and this is that of households with at least one active member in which all are unemployed.

At the end of last March, 5,600 households in the region did not have labor income, the same as at the end of 2023, although some less than at the end of the first quarter of last year. Then there were 6,700, 1,100 more than now, although at that time the record of families living on subsidies was not surpassed either. The ceiling was reached in 2013 with 9,600 households with all their members unemployed, a figure that was repeated the following year. At that time, the consequences of the economic crisis of 2008 were dragging on, which had its origins in the real estate bubble.

In relative terms, the 5,600 households in which all their members are unemployed represent just over 4% of the total number of households in the region, somewhat below the national average (4.76%) and far from the rates that register autonomies such as Extremadura, where this drama is experienced in 7.58% of homes, or in the Canary Islands, where it affects 7.41%. The best positioned are Aragón (2.67%), followed by the Basque Country (3.14%).

Families that do not raise their heads

Regardless of whether the households that subsist on aid or subsidies increase or decrease, the reality is that 5,600 households are going through their particular journey through the desert. The worrying thing, explains José Andrés Pérez, director of Cáritas, is that there is no significant decrease, that is, that “there is a significant number of families that cannot get out of the situation due to lack of work and sometimes due to lack of a job that “provides them with sufficient resources to live.”

The profiles of poverty have changed. They are fully aware of this at Cáritas, where they witness the tragedy every day. Households in which no one is working are usually made up of older people who have lost their jobs and find it difficult to re-enter the labor market. In general, he explains, they are Spanish by birth, they do not have great professional qualifications and they are over 50 years old, an age at which “it is frankly difficult to find work or, at least, a stable job.”

Many single-parent families, made up of a mother with children, also suffer from this situation, adding to the difficulty of finding a job how complicated it is to reconcile both lives, family and work, when you are alone.

“There are families that do not get out of the situation due to lack of work and sometimes due to lack of a job that gives them sufficient resources”

José Andréz Pérez

Director of Cáritas Diocesana de La Rioja

Another group that swells the statistics offered by the EPA under the cold heading ‘Households with at least one asset in which everyone is unemployed’, is made up of immigrants in an irregular administrative situation. “It is a group that does not stop growing and that does not work, at least officially, because it cannot because it does not have a residence or work permit or just a residence permit.”

At the same time, there are also more and more people who, due to the increase in prices, especially rent and shopping baskets, do not cover all the family’s needs with what they bring into the house. “When a family spends between 50 and 60% paying rent, it is impossible for them to cover the rest.” “This happens quite frequently,” says José Andrés Pérez, “when the recommendation is that spending on housing is around 30% of income, but if it doubles it is difficult to make ends meet even if you have a job.”

Cáritas provides assistance from all fronts: immediate aid to meet urgent needs, advice, training and job reintegration.

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