Homelessness in Spain

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Homelessness in Spain is a significant social issue, affecting some 40,000 people[1] (0.09% of the population.) Migrants are disproportionately represented among the homeless population.[2] Young people are also highly represented among the homeless, some studies estimating that 30% of Spain's homeless are aged 18-29.[3]

Mental illness among homeless is thought to occur less frequently than the US, this may be attributed to Spain's universal healthcare system.[4] One study found high levels of substance-related disorders, but these rates were comparatively lower than US and UK samples.[5] Other researchers note that such comparative studies run the challenge of lack of prepared official definition of homelessness, as well as few well-controlled studies.[6]

in 2015, a former minister and leader of the conservative Popular Party stated that homeless people sleeping in the streets are “scaring off” tourists from Madrid.[7]


  1. ^ "Global Homelessness Statistics - Homeless World Cup".
  2. ^ Meda, Jordi Bosch. "Homelessness among migrants in Spain." European Journal of Homelessness (2010): 139.
  3. ^ Quilgars, Deborah. "Youth homelessness." Homelessness Research in Europe. Brussels: FEANTSA (European Federation of National Associations Working with the Homeless) (2010): 187-210.
  4. ^ Philippot, Pierre, Catherine Lecocq, Fanny Sempoux, Hilde Nachtergael, and Benoit Galand. "Psychological research on homelessness in Western Europe: A review from 1970 to 2001." Journal of Social Issues 63, no. 3 (2007): 483-503.
  5. ^ Vázquez, Carmelo, Manuel Muñoz, and Jesus Sanz. "Lifetime and 12‐month prevalence of DSM‐III‐R mental disorders among the homeless in Madrid: a European study using the CIDI." Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 95, no. 6 (1997): 523-530.
  6. ^ Vázquez, Carmelo, and Manuel Muñoz. "Homelessness, Mental Health, and Stressful Life Events: The Madrid Experience." International Journal of Mental Health 30, no. 3 (2001): 6-25.
  7. ^ "Get rid of the homeless people in Madrid who scare tourists, former Spanish minister says".