Young people emancipate at 30.3 years of age on average in Spain, the highest figure in the last twenty years
- The youth emancipation rate in Spain stagnates at 15.9%, well below European levels with an average rate of 31.9%.
- To rent alone, a young person would have to spend 83.7% of his or her annual net salary.
- One out of every five people under 30 years of age with a job was in poverty or at risk of social exclusion.
Madrid, August 11, 2023 - The current edition of the Emancipation Observatory of the Spanish Youth Council (CJE) records the highest average age of emancipation in Spain in the last 20 years: 30.3 years. Young people in Spain cannot emancipate themselves until they are no longer young. This is a very worrying symptom that shows that the structural problems of youth are still very present and condition adult life. During the second half of 2022, the percentage of young people who emancipated themselves residentially stagnated and the increases in rent and housing prices made it impossible for a young person to emancipate themselves without becoming over-indebted.
While in Spain the emancipation rate was 15.9%, in the European Union the average emancipation rate was 31.9%, twice as high as in our country. For young Spanish people, becoming independent is practically a chimera, and it is always more difficult for a young Spanish person to do so than for a European.
Why is it almost impossible to become emancipated in Spain?
Having a job is not enough to be able to afford housing in Spain. Although the average salary of a young person rose by 4.6% to 13,079.19 euros net per year (or 1,089.93 euros net per month), the price of rental housing rose by 7.55%. Thus, the average rent for a house was 912 euros. A young person would have to spend 83.7% of his or her salary. That, added to the 141 euros that cost on average the supplies and services of a home (such as water, electricity, gas, etc.), would amount to 1,053 euros per month, 96.6% of his or her salary. That is to say, only 36.93 euros would be left to buy food, clothes and leisure, something completely unaffordable.
One out of every five people under 30 years of age with a job was in poverty or at risk of social exclusion. This phenomenon, that of young people who remain poor, even if they work, should be one of the priorities of the political class, since the impossibility of accessing conditions that allow them to live in a dignified and independent way not only causes material problems for young people, but also affects their mental health.
Nor did having higher education in any case guarantee emancipation. Only 22.9% of young people who had completed higher-level vocational training or university studies had been able to emancipate themselves. Moreover, for young people who did not continue studying, the emancipation rate was similar among those with higher education and those without.
The rental market in Spain continued to become more expensive during the second half of 2022. Faced with the impossibility of renting alone, one in three young people who live in rented accommodation are forced to do so in shared housing. The average rent for a room was 282.19 euros at the end of 2022, 25.9% of the average young person's salary. This figure is dangerously close to the recommendation arrived at by most studies, which state that the price of regular housing should not account for more than 30% of a person's salary.
The increase in the average purchase price of housing the option of paying a mortgage was not much better for young people either. First, because the average down payment for a home was set at the end of 2022 at 49,852.20 euros, the equivalent of 3.8 full years' salary for someone under 30 years of age. And, on the other hand, for those young workers who managed to get a mortgage, the average amount of the first monthly payment was 661.33 euros, 60.7% of the average salary of a salaried person under 30 years of age.
The unemployment rate of young people was still much higher in 2022 than that of the general population: 22.2% compared to 12.9%. At the end of 2022, young people had an unemployment rate similar to that recorded in 2008 with the outbreak of the economic and financial crisis. Following the labor reform, it can be stated that temporary employment, a problem traditionally endemic to the young population, has been significantly reduced, from 55.4 % temporary employment at the end of 2021 to 38.9 % in the last quarter of 2022.
Discontinuous permanent contracts have skyrocketed: those young people who had a permanent contract but who only worked, due to the nature of their employment, certain months of the year. In just one year, Spain has gone from having 23,569 permanent contracts signed by young people to 233,828, almost ten times more. In addition, part-time permanent contracts tripled, when almost half of the young people under this type of contract said they would prefer to have a full-time job, but had not found one.
In the words of Andrea González Henry, president of the Spanish Youth Council: "The Spanish Youth Council continues to warn of the lack of action in housing policy in Spain and the negative consequences that this has caused in the general population and, especially, among the youth, who continue to see how year after year the percentage of emancipation decreases due to a loss of purchasing power, a situation that overlaps with the uninterrupted rise in rental and purchase prices of housing".
In the words of Juan Antonio Báez, vice president and head of socioeconomic and communication of the CJE: "Youth policies in many cases become a flight forward that do not enter to solve structurally the main problems that concern young people, such as housing and employment, and that cause major mental health problems for the young population, whose main cause of death is suicide."
For more information:
Antonio Martínez Blanco
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