The proportion of Spanish residents living below the official poverty line has declined from 21.8 percent to 21.1 percent over the past year, the National Statistics Institute, or INE, said Monday.

The INE attributed the change to a stabilization in incomes among people age 65 and over, even as other age groups experienced further declines.

The poverty rate in the 16-64 age cohort increased from 19.4 percent in 2011 to 21 percent, while one in every four children under 16 is living in poverty, according to the report.

Median annual household income fell 1.9 percent to 24,609 euros ($32,109), the INE said, citing figures from its national survey on living conditions.

With Spain mired in recession for the second time in four years, 12.7 percent of families said they struggle to make their money last until the end of the month, compared with 9.8 percent last year.

The stability provided by pensions helped lower the poverty rate for people over 65 from 21.7 percent to 16.9 percent, INE officials told Efe.

Among Spain's substantial immigrant population, the proportion of those living in poverty rises to 26.2 percent.

The Spanish economy remains hampered by the fallout from the collapse of a long-building housing bubble, which left many of its banks saddled with toxic assets.

Spain was forced to request a loan of up to 100 billion euros ($129 billion) from its eurozone partners to prop up ailing financial institutions.

The Iberian nation's unemployment rate currently stands at nearly 25 percent overall and more than 50 percent among young people.

EFE