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Eurostat: Downward trend in the share of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU. Largest decreases in Poland and Romania

In 2017, 112.9 million people, or 22.5% of the population, in the European Union (EU) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

This means that they were in at least one of the following three conditions: at risk of poverty after social transfers (income poverty), severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity.

After three consecutive increases between 2009 and 2012 to reach almost 25%, the proportion of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU has since continuously decreased to 22.5% last year, 1.2 percentage points below its 2008  reference-point and  1  percentage  point  below the 2016 level.

The reduction of the number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU is one of the key targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.

These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

In 2017, more than a third of the population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in three Member States: Bulgaria (38.9%), Romania (35.7%) and Greece (34.8%). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest shares of persons  being  at  risk  of  poverty  or  social  exclusion  were  recorded in  the Czech  Republic (12.2%),  Finland (15.7%), Slovakia (16.3%), the Netherlands (17.0%), Slovenia and France (both 17.1%) and Denmark (17.2%).

Among Member States for which 2017 data are available, the at risk of poverty or social exclusion rate has grown since 2008 in ten Member  States,  with  the  highest increases being recorded  in Greece (from 28.1%  in  2008  to 34.8%  in  2017,  or  +6.7percentage  points), Italy (+3.4pp), Spain (+2.8pp),  the Netherlands (+2.1pp), Cyprus (+1.9pp) and Estonia (+1.6pp).

In contrast, the largest decrease was observed in Poland (from 30.5% to 19.5%, or -11.0pp), followed by Romania (8.5 pp), Latvia (-6.0pp) and Bulgaria (-5.9pp).

Across the EU Member States, more than 1 in 5 persons were at risk of income poverty in Romania (23.6%), Bulgaria (23.4%), Lithuania (22.9%), Latvia (22.1%), Spain (21.6%), Estonia (21.0%), Italy (20.3%) and Greece (20.2%).  In  contrast,  the  lowest  rates  were  observed  in  the Czech  Republic (9.1%), Finland (11.5%), Denmark and Slovakia (both 12.4%), the Netherlands (13.2%), France and Slovenia (both 13.3%) and Hungary(13.4%).

Compared  with  2008,  the  proportion  of  persons  at  risk  of  income  poverty  has  increased in nineteen Member States, for which data are available, remained stable in one and decreased in seven.

In the EU in 2017, 6.9% 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, or take a one week holiday away from home. This proportion has decreased compared with both 2016 (7.5%) and 2008 (8.5%). The share of those severely materially deprived in 2017 varied significantly among Member States, ranging  from 30.0% in Bulgaria, 21.1%  in Greece and 19.7%  in Romania, to less  than 4% in Sweden (1.1%), Luxembourg (1.2%),  Finland (2.1%), the Netherlands (2.6%), Denmark (3.1%), Malta (3.3%), Germany (3.4%), Austria and the Czech Republic (both  3.7%).

Compared  with  2008,  the  proportion  of  persons  severely  materially deprived has increased in nine Member States for which data are available , and decreased in eighteen.

 

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