February 4, 2014
Europe has an odd definition of recovery: we already knew that in Greece “recovery” means record high unemployment, an entire generation unable to find work, the return of neo-nazism, no ink with which to print tax forms, and even instances where people infect themselves with HIV to get medical benefits. That, and of course, soaring suicides. Now it is Spain’s turn.
While the Iberian nation is furiously scrambling to catch up to Greece in terms of sheer economic collapse, even if the government has changed the definition of GDP so many times, somehow Spain dares to look people in the eye and claim its GDP is growing with 26% total, and 54% youth unemployment, one statistic Spain can’t change is that the suicide rate has soared and is now the highest in eight years.
The Local reports, using figures from Spain’s National Institute of Statistics that in the most recent data from 2012, released on Friday, 402,950 people died in Spain, some 15,039 (3.9 percent) more than in 2011. Of these deaths, there were 3539 suicides (2,724 men and 815 women), up 11.3 percent from the year before, a rate of 7.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. The figures were the highest since 2005.
According to official broadcaster RTVE, suicide was second only to cancer (15 percent of deaths) in the overall 25-34 age group, but the leading cause of death in young men (17.8 percent). Fatalities as a result of traffic accidents fell by 9.5 percent, to 1,915 – that’s probably because so few young men and women can afford to buy a car. Or gas. Or both.
Finally in tangential news, a 21 percent spike in the death rate in February and March compared with the previous year was attributed to a late-breaking flu epidemic. The same period saw deaths as a result of respiratory failure rise 53.6 percent year-on-year.
So the next time you hear about the PIIGS much trumpeted “recovery” (which now is finished even before it started courtesy of the sharp relapse of the global economy courtesy of EMs, and in the case of Greece, quite literally based on the latest growth forecasts), think.