1 in 4 at risk of poverty or social exclusion in EU

Nearly a quarter of the EU population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2011, according to official statistics released by Eurostat. The figure of 24.2 per cent – equivalent to 119.6 million people – was higher than the 23.4 per cent recorded in 2010, and the 23.5 per cent in 2008.

The risk of poverty or social exclusion is defined as being in at least one of the following three conditions: at risk of poverty, severely materially deprived, or living in households with very low work intensity.

Key points

  • The highest figures were recorded in Bulgaria (49 per cent), Romania and Latvia (both 40 per cent). The lowest were found in the Czech Republic (15 per cent), the Netherlands and Sweden (both 16 per cent). The UK recorded a figure of 22.7 per cent (14 million people), slightly below the EU average.
  • 17 per cent of the EU population were at risk of poverty after social transfers, meaning their disposable income was below their national at-risk-of-poverty threshold. The UK figure was 16.2 per cent, just below average.
  • 8.8 per cent of the EU population were severely materially deprived, meaning 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. The UK figure was well below the EU average, at 5.1 per cent.
  • 10 per cent of the EU population aged 0-59 lived in households with very low work intensity – that is, where the adult(s) had worked for less than 20 per cent of their total work potential during the previous year. The UK did relatively poorly on this indicator, with 11.5 per cent living in low work intensity households in 2011.

Source: Press release 3 December 2012, Eurostat (European Union)
LinkEurostat press release

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