How many people are poor in the EU? Is inequality increasing? Does a job guarantee escape from poverty? Questions like these and many others on poverty and social exclusion as well as housing, health and education are analysed in the new publication Income and living conditions in Europe issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. This publication is based on data from the EU-SILC survey, and is issued in connection with the closing conference of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, which takes place in Brussels on 16 and 17 December 2010.
As President Barroso says in the foreword to the publication: “One of the headline targets in the Europe 2020 Strategy for Jobs and Growth is promoting social inclusion, in particular through the reduction of poverty, by aiming to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty and excluded from full participation in work and society. This publication is an integral part of this political agenda”. To illustrate the content of the publication, this News Release focuses on some aspects of the statistical measurement of poverty and social exclusion.
A key target of the Europe 2020 strategy is to lift at least 20 million people in the EU27 out of the risk of poverty or social exclusion. Progress towards this target is measured by using a combination of three indicators: persons at-risk-of poverty, severely materially deprived persons and persons living in households with very low work intensity. In 2008, 116 million people in the EU27 were affected by at least one of these forms of social exclusion.
81 million people in the EU27 at risk of poverty
As regards income poverty, 81 million persons (or 17% of the population) in the EU27 in 2008 were at risk of poverty after social transfers, meaning that their disposable income was below their national at-risk-of-poverty threshold5. Latvia (26%), Romania (23%) and Bulgaria (21%) had the highest at risk-of-poverty rates, and the Czech Republic (9%), the Netherlands and Slovakia (both 11%) the lowest.
42 million people in the EU27 severely materially deprived
In the EU27, 42 million (or 8% of the population) were severely materially deprived, meaning that they had living conditions constrained by a lack of resources such as not being able to afford to pay their bills, keep their home adequately warm, own a car or a telephone etc5. The shares of those materially deprived varied significantly among EU Member States, with the highest in Bulgaria (41%) and Romania (33%), and the lowest in Luxembourg, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain (all less than 3%).
34 million people in the EU27 lived in households with low work intensity
Regarding the indicator on low work intensity, 34 million (or 9% of the population aged 0-59) in the EU27 lived in households where the adults worked less than 20% of their total work potential during the past year5. Ireland (14%), Hungary, Belgium and Germany (all 12%) had the largest proportions of those living in low work intensity households, and Cyprus (4%), Luxembourg, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Estonia and Sweden (all 5%) the lowest.
7 million people in the EU27 fell under all three criteria
There were 116 million people in the EU27 in 2008, or almost a quarter of the EU27 population, who were touched by at least one of these three forms of social exclusion. Among the Member States, Bulgaria (45% of the population), Romania (44%), Latvia (34%) and Poland (31%) had the highest shares, and the Netherlands, Sweden and the Czech Republic (all 15%), Luxembourg and Denmark (both 16%) had the lowest.
There were, on the other hand, 7 million people (or 1.4% of the population) in the EU27 who fell under all three criteria in 2008. The highest proportions were observed in Bulgaria (4%) and Hungary (3%), and the lowest in Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands (all 0.5% or less).