The Kingdom of Spain is predominantly located in Southwestern Europe but includes territory and islands in the Atlantic Ocean and across the Mediterranean Sea. Spain is home to around 47 million people, with more than 80% of the population living in urban centers. The capital, Madrid, is also the political, economic, and cultural center, and the most populous city in Spain. It is also the second largest city in the EU and home to more than 6 million people.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Spain since the late 1960s.
The national poverty rate in Spain is just below 15%, however, under-18s are twice as likely to face poverty and social exclusion, affecting around 30% of children. In addition, 6% face extreme material deprivation. This situation is dramatically worse for Roma children, almost 90% of whom live in poverty. Children born into poverty are more likely to experience hunger and malnutrition, a negative impact on their physical and intellectual development, and a wide range of health problems that affect them in the long-term.
Over 10% of the population are out of work, of which around 40% are long-term unemployed persons. Around 30% of young people are jobless, equating to 2.5 million 15–24-year-olds. Of those, almost 750,000 are also out of education and training. Young people who are out of work and education have decreased well-being and greater social isolation. They also lack opportunities to gain and improve their skills, exacerbating employment and socio-economic challenges.
Over 10% of children do not complete upper secondary education and almost 30% of young people exit high school or a vocational training without a qualification. Over 60% of Roma students do not complete compulsory education. The consequences of a poor educational background can be profound, from slower progress in learning and restricted social and emotional development to worse prospects for future employment, or increased vulnerability to safeguarding issues and criminal exploitation.