Damaging effect of crisis on well-being in EU

Vulnerable groups in the EU have experienced a considerable drop in their well-being during the economic crisis, according to researchers in Dublin. The worst affected are those who are unemployed, elderly or retired, as well as those already suffering material deprivation.

The paper looks at whether the global crisis has affected the quality of life of EU citizens, over the period 2007–2010. ‘Quality of life’ reflects income, housing, health, education and employment, as well as family life, social capital, quality of public services, and subjective well-being.

Main points

  • In overall terms, the crisis has led to a decline in quality of life, particularly for countries most directly affected by the crisis.
  • By autumn 2010 the number of people in the EU experiencing financial strain had increased by 4 percentage points since the start of the crisis, meaning that 1 out of every 6 Europeans lives in a household struggling to obtain enough money to live.
  • Countries will have to continue dealing with the crisis effects for some time, including falling standards of living and well-being.
  • Policies must take into account the ‘hits’ already taken by people who are vulnerable, on the margin of society and on a low income. The burden of the crisis needs to be shared by all social groups, otherwise conditions for the most disadvantaged will become ‘intolerable’.

Source: Branislav Mikulić, Eszter Sándor and Tadas Leoncikas, Experiencing the Economic Crisis in the EU: Changes in Living Standards, Deprivation and Trust, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions

Link: Report