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The consensual approach to measuring poverty orginated in UK and has subsequently been widely used across Europe. In particular, it has led to the development of the deprivation indicators used as the official measure of deprivation poverty in the EU. For detaills of this research in the UK see PSE UK and for details of the EU deprivation indicators see European Union. Details of research in Ireland, Finland and Sweden can be found in the left hand menu. Research in other European countries will be added shortly.

Children with EU flags

National proportions of deprived children vary hugely across EU countries, from 5 to 10% in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg and Slovenia to around 70% in Bulgaria and Romania. Read more about the new European Union child deprivation index - adopted in 2018.


The EU has revised its material deprivation index from the existing 9-item to a new 13-item index following analysis of data from around 50 material deprivation items, derived from the UK Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey indicators and collected in EU-SILC 2009. Read more about the analyses behind this new index.

Persistent poverty Ireland

Since 1997, Ireland has developed national policies to tackle poverty and social exclusion based on measures of material deprivation, those at risk from low income and those in consistent poverty with both material deprviation and lwo income. The material deprviation indicators were derived from sureys on the necessities of life in Ireland. Read more......

Attitudes to necessities in European Union countries

European Union flag fluttering

In 2007 the EU conducted a survey into attitudes to necessities to explore whether the concept of socially perceived necessities (see consensual method) could be utilised across the member states. This 2007 survey enabled direct comparisons on people's attitudes to what items and activities count as necessities to be made across a wide range of countries with different cultural backgrounds and different levels of economic development and is therefore a comprehensive test of the idea of socially perceived necessities. It found considerable agreement across member states, despite the cultural and economic differences, and since 2009, the EU-SILC surveys have used a set of indicators of material deprivation, based on this commonly agreed list of necessities. In European Union, you can find details on a country by country basis of people's attitudes to necessities in the different member states.