The housing problem in Spain is not just an electoral campaign issue, it is a real concern that affects the majority of the population: young people, who in Spain they were emancipated three and a half years later (at 29.8 years) compared to the European average (26.5 years); and to the parents, who see how the vital stages of the whole family are affected. The experts confirm that the situation has no sign of improving, quite the contrary, despite the fact that employment and training of the young be growing. This is confirmed by a complete study “Prospective study on employment and youth in Spain“ introduced a few weeks ago by Help in Action.
Job insecurity is the main obstacle to becoming independent
We usually quote the unemployment as the cause of young people not being able to undertake vital or professional projects, but although it is true that the employment situation of youth is worse than that of the population as a whole, it is also true that during the economic recovery their access to employment has been improving, and according to the panel of experts in this Study it will continue to do so. Thus, they ensure that the unemployment rate of the group between 15 and 29 years will decline in the coming years from the current 27%, to 20.3%.
Therefore, it is not just having a job, but what kind. Because youth employment is characterized by suffering older temporary and partial employment rates than that of the population as a whole, an issue that directly affects access to housing. Since the outbreak of the economic crisis in 2008, there has been a gradual impoverishment of youth compared to the general population. The rate of risk of poverty and social exclusion (AROPE) before the crisis was lower among youth than among the general population. However, during the crisis this rate grew suddenly among youth, almost doubling its value in 2015, growing much more intensely than among the general population.
The obstacle to having jobs of better quality and remuneration is not in the qualification either. Spain is experiencing a process of historic improvement in the educational level of its population, and at the rate of school dropout has been going down in recent years, we are almost at the level of other European countries. What is certain is that important differences are observed by educational level and employment situation, with a lower rate of risk of exclusion and employability at higher educational levels. However, despite this difference, the data shows that employment does not guarantee escape from poverty or social exclusion, since among 30% to 40% of employed youth between the ages of 25 and 34 have a temporary contractwhich continues to place them in a state of significant vulnerability.
Health consequences of this leverage of young people in the family home
in 2021 46% of the population between the ages of 25 and 34 lived with their parents (10.6 percentage points more than in 2008). According to the group of experts consulted in the Study, this figure will hardly change until 2030. A tremendous reality that seems to be perpetuated in Spanish society and that will affect many other social and well-being factors, such as:
- The median age of first child in Spain it was in 2020 at 31.2 years. According to the Study in 2030 it will be 32.4 years. In parallel, life expectancy has increased slowly but steadily, resulting in a process of demographic change that puts brutal pressure on the pension system.
- It perpetuates and increases the social and economic gap, since as the Study says “it is of little use to improve the education of a generation if there are no opportunities afterwards”. The lifeline to improve the standard of living and overcome the difficulties and differences of origin was always training, but if you can’t move forward by working, it falls on deaf ears.
- It affects the lack of autonomy and responsibility of our youth: emancipation is directly linked to the presence of responsibilities, in many of which the young person may not have stopped to think beforehand, being at the parents’ house does not help to assume them…
- Reduced autonomy: between the ages of 20 and 30, our maturational capacity is sufficiently prepared to make decisions for oneself, regardless of the evaluation of others. Being in the family home means that the young person has to submit to the rules and rhythms of his parents, preventing him from exercising the autonomy that would correspond to his age.
- problems of coexistence: Everything explained above often generates problems of coexistence, even if the will of all the parties involved is good. At a stage in which parents should be enjoying and resting from their mature stage and on some occasions from retirementare still forced to continue acting as head of the family.
- According to many sources, the delay in the age of emancipation is favoring a increase in cases of depression among young people and, since anxiety and frustration maintained over time are a breeding ground for these disorders.
- Buying a flat… we don’t even talk, doomed to rent. Since 2006, the percentage of the young population (16 to 29 years old) living in a property regime has fallen from approximately 60% to 30%. On the other hand, the percentage of the young population living on a rental basis has increased notably, becoming the majority mode of access to housing among the young population among those who do manage to become independent.
The solution involves a structural change from many angles
The Ayuda en Acción report indicates that according to all the experts who have consulted the change in employment matters, promote as a country stable employment for youth.
In addition, these measures should be accompanied by other challenges that would help the adequate social development of this segment of the population:
- Mental health y emotional well-being in the workplace
- promotion of reconciliation of professional development and the increase in the birth rate
- finish the gender gapsin employment, especially wages.
- seize the telecommuting as an environmental measure and to reconcile people’s life projects.
- Promotion of entrepreneurship young.
- A new political framework to solve the structural problem in housing.
- Increase and improvement of the housing supply, especially the public housing stock for rent.
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