Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Mil means 1,000 in Spanish, euristas is derived from Euro, the currency, and, to finish the word off it is personalised with that ending istas. So Mileuristas are those people who earn around 1,000€ (£870) per month.

I aspire to be a mileurista, I've never been paid as much as 1,000€ per month either before or after tax whilst I've been in Spain. Fortunately Maggie breaks the barrier easily enough.

There was a report yesterday that said that 63% of the Spanish workforce earned less than 1,100€ per month - that's less than 13,200€ gross per year. The average wage here is 18,087€ gross (before tax etc.) If we were doing this in sterling we'd be talking £15,727 per year. In the UK it's around £24,000.

Now we all know that averages are rubbish, I'm almost certain for instance that you have more than the average number of feet! Nonetheless it feels true that Spanish people earn derisory amounts of cash by European standards. I heard one of those "dolebuster" features on the radio where a boss was obviously proud that he was offering a salary of 18,000€ for a trained and experienced chemical engineer. The woman in the dole office agreed with me that it wasn't too ridiculously greedy to ask for a salary of 1,500€ per month if I would have to move house to take up a new job.

Earnings of course mean nothing without being able to judge outgoings too. The 2 bed flat we've just rented in Cartagena seemed averagely priced at 550€ per month. A litre of milk costs around 70 cents and it's about 6€ to go to the pictures. We thought we were onto a good deal for a phone/broadband and basic TV package at around 65€ per month. A litre of ordinary diesel is 85 cents and 95 octane petrol 94 cents. A bread stick might be discounted but expect to pay around 50 cents and an English style loaf can cost as much as 2.50€. It's a long time since I've been in the UK but I suspect that some of those prices sound good and others sound high. Not drastically different though. And not enough to make that 63% of the population comfortable.

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