Paloma Taltavull de la Paz, Francisco Juárez, Paloma Monllor
2016/20: Fuel Poverty: Evidence from housing perspective
The literature has traditionally approached fuel poverty as a result of poverty. Fuel poor are those households who cannot pay fuel bill and have to live in cold ambient, with grave effects on their health. As fuel poverty is actually considered in poverty’s analysis, there is little discussion about whether homeowners (who own housing wealth and, theoretically, cannot be poor) could suffer this problem. This paper assesses fuel poverty amongst Spanish households. It deeps on how poverty situations triggers fuel poverty in the context of housing and discusses whether or not housing tenure causes fuel poverty due to housing characteristics, those usually evaluated as poverty component. The paper finds empirical evidence about the relevance of tenancy when it comes to explain the likelihood of falling under the poverty line as well as about the fact that fuel poverty has become a systematic situation in all poor Spanish households regardless of their tenant status. Using micro-data obtained from the Quality of Life Survey (EU-SILC) for Spain, the data are segmented by residential tenure and household type, calculating poverty lines for homeowners, renters (both at market prices and below them), and free-rent housing ‒the four tenure formulas existing in the Spanish housing market‒ and including two variables to capture fuel poverty situations. A logistic regression model is applied and results suggest that fuel poverty clearly appears as an expression of poverty at any tenancy type.