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Rise in EU population at risk of poverty

Latest figures show that around 120 million people, or 24 per cent of the EU 27, were at risk of poverty or social exclusion last year.

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AROUND 120 MILLION people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU27 countries last year.

That is according to the latest statistics from Eurostat, which show that 24.2 per cent of the population in the EU27 were at risk, a number which has risen from 23.4 per cent in 2010 and 23.5 per cent in 2008.

This means that these people were experiencing at least one of these conditions:

  • They were at risk of poverty
  • They were severely materially deprived
  • They were living in households with very low work intensity.

Although specific data in these categories for Ireland in 2011 wasn’t available, overall figures did show that there was a jump from 23.7 per cent in 2008 to 29.9 per cent in 2010 of people falling under at least one of the three criteria.

At risk

The countries that had the highest percentages of people at risk were Bulgaria (49 per cent), Romania and Latvia (both 40 per cent), Lithuania (33 per cent), Greece and Hungary (both 31 per cent).

The countries experiencing the lowest percentages were the Czech Republic (15 per cent), the Netherlands and Sweden (both 16 per cent), Luxembourg and Austria (both 17 per cent).

In total, 17 per cent of the population in the EU27 were at risk of income poverty in 2011, meaning that their disposable income was below their national at-risk-of-poverty threshold.

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Nine per cent 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.

Meanwhile, 10 per cent were living in households where the adults worked less than 20 per cent of their total work potential during the year.  The poverty threshold varies greatly between member states and has fallen in recent years due to the economic crisis.

Read: Women pushed further into poverty as food prices continue to rise – Oxfam>

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