In most of the countries for which 2017 data are available, the severe material deprivation rate decreased compared with 2016. The exceptions are Denmark, where it increased by 0.5 percentage points, from 2.6 percent in 2016 to 3.1 percent in 2017, and the Netherlands where it remained stable at 2.6 percent, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, shows.
The largest decreases are registered in Romania (from 23.8 percent in 2016 to 19.4 percent in 2017, or -4.4pp), followed by Italy (from 12.1 percent to 9.2 percent, or -2.9pp), Croatia (from 12.5 percent to 10.3 percent, or -2.2pp), Bulgaria (from 31.9 percent to 30 percent, or -1.9pp) and Cyprus (from 13.6 percent to 11.7 percent, or -1.9pp).
At the same time, Romania is among the countries with the highest shares of severe material deprivation – 19.4 percent, along with Bulgaria (30 percent), Greece (21.1 percent) and Hungary (14.5 percent).
In contrast, the severe material deprivation rates were below 3% in Sweden (0.8 percent in 2016), Luxembourg (1.6 percent in 2016), Finland (2 percent) and the Netherlands (2.6 percent).
In 2017, 6.7 percent of the population or around 33 million people in the European Union (EU) were severely materially deprived. This means that they cannot afford at least four of the following items, which are considered by most people to be desirable or necessary to lead an adequate life: pay their bills on time; keep their home adequately warm; face unexpected expenses; eat meat (or fish or the vegetarian equivalent) regularly; take a one week holiday away from home; a TV; a washing machine; a car; a telephone.
Eurostat data reflect the continued downward trend in the proportion of persons severely materially deprived in the EU since its peak of 9.9 percent in 2012.
Single adult households are most affected. The rate of severe material deprivation for households with only one adult is 9.6 percent if the household has no dependent children. It stands at 14.3 percent for a household comprised of a single adult with children. For households where two or more adults are present, the rates are significantly lower: 5.2 percent without children and 6.1 percent with children.