When talking about poverty, we should not only take into account the income levels of the population but also the deprivations in health and education, as well as the social exclusion. This is the proposal of the Human Poverty Index, constructed by the Bancaja Foundation and the Ivie, which measures poverty from a multidimensional approach, based on the United Nations' Human Poverty Index, or HPI-2, for developed countries.
Results show that human poverty has increased in Spain during the period of economic crisis despite the positive evolution of human capital. That is, the human poverty index has increased 1.7% during the period of economic crisis due to the increase of economic poverty as measured by the percentage of the poor and the long-term unemployment rate (16.2% and a 565% respectively between 2007 and 2012). This has happened despite the reduction in the poverty dimensions of human capital, health and education, measured by the probability at birth of not surviving age 60 and the early school leaving rate, which have decreased to 15% and 20% in each case.
Furthermore, the differences in human poverty among the Spanish autonomous communities have doubled since the beginning of the crisis. Material deprivation is the dimension of poverty that shows greater diversity among regions, a gap that has increased during the crisis.
These results can be found in the Human Capital Note on Economic Crisis and Poverty in Spain, which updates the report on human development and poverty in Spain and its regions (Desarrollo humano y pobreza en España y sus comunidades autónomas), produced by the Bancaja Foundation and the Ivie and that was presented in 2013. The research team is made up by the Ivie researchers and university professors, Carmen Herrero (University of Alicante), Antonio Villar (Pablo de Olavide University), and Ivie research technician Ángel Soler.
The Human Poverty Index is an average of the impact on poverty of the following four dimensions:
- Health poverty. Defined as having a life expectancy of less than 60 years
- Poverty in education. Measured by the early school leaving rate (not having finished high school)
- A level of less than 60 per cent of the median income is considered income poverty (measured by household expenditure)
- Social exclusion. Measured by the unemployed persons spending a total of 12 or more months in unemployment
Update and revision of the temporal series
This Human Capital Note provides one more year in the analysis and a complete revision of the time series, taking into account in its elaboration the release of the 2011 Census by the Spanish Statistical Institute and other surveys such as the Labour Force Survey and the Household Budget Survey. Consequently, the variables that compose the poverty index, analyzed in this Note, have been modified, and thus the values do not coincide exactly with those released in the May 2013 Human Capital Note.