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.