Portugal is usually known as a hotspot for tourists; a country filled with breathtaking historical sites and exquisite cuisine. Even though it may look like a luxury spot for vacation from the outside, Portugal is actually a country filled with economic and financial problems. Behind the array of castles, cathedrals and towers lay people living on the streets because of unemployment and children that are suffering. Why is poverty in Portugal such a big problem?
Poverty in Portugal: Top 10 Facts
- There are almost 2.6 million people living below the poverty line in Portugal, according to the National Statistics Institute. 487,000 of the citizens living in poverty in the country are under the age of 18.
- Portugal is one of the most unequal countries in Europe. The wealthy citizens earn an income that is five times higher than other people who are living in poverty.
- Portugal is known as one of the European countries that work the most, although, the hourly wage for workers is extremely low compared to other countries in Europe.
- Parents have to work multiple jobs, leaving them with less time to spend with their children. Due of this, students have been known to act out more and come to school not having eaten a proper breakfast.
- Unemployment is one of the main causes of poverty in Portugal. In 2018, the unemployment rate dropped down to 7.9 percent.
- After the 2008 recession, Portugal did not progress economically compared to the other countries around the world. Economic growth has been slowing down since then.
- A lot of families are forced to live in shacks or shambled housing due to poverty in Portugal. The need for suitable housing in the country is increasing, especially in urban areas.
- Portugal has the highest rate of HIV/AIDs in all of Western Europe.
- Child labor is common in the northern and central parts of Portugal. Many children under the age of 16 are made to beg on the streets and even have to leave school in search of work.
- Elderly citizens and children are more likely to be living in poverty in Portugal than any other group of people. The elderly are the most dominant demographic in Portugal, especially in more rural areas.
What is the Future of Portugal?
Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa mentioned that citizens should not be simply pretending that poverty doesn’t exist in their country. It is indeed disturbing that in Portugal almost 2.6 million people are at risk of poverty.
In March at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, President de Sousa discussed his national strategy for increasing the growth of employment, education, housing and health to hopefully eradicate poverty in Portugal. He said that he believes the country had been in a rut since the financial crisis and a global strategy must be implemented immediately to eradicate it.
– McKenzie Hamby