Poverty in Europe

People at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the European Union

In 2010 the EU adopted the Europe 2020 Strategy. This strategy focuses on five targets. One of these is a poverty target which is to “lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and social exclusion by 2020”.

At the same time the EU agreed a way of measuring the numbers of people who were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This is by adding up the number of persons who are at risk of poverty, severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity. Persons present in several sub-indicators are counted only once.

  • Persons at risk of poverty have an equivalised disposable income below 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable median (middle) income. Equivalised is a way of dividing the income coming into a household between the adults (1.0 for the first adult and 0.66 for all other adults) and children (0.33 for each child) to come up with the amount for an individual.
  • Material deprivation covers indicators relating to economic strain and durables. This covers the share of population living in households lacking at least 4 out of the following 9 items: i) to pay rent or utility bills, ii) keep home adequately warm, iii) face unexpected expenses, iv) eat meat, fish or a protein equivalent every second day, v) a week holiday away from home, or could not afford (even if wanted to) vi) a car, vii) a washing machine, viii) a colour TV, or ix) a telephone.
  • Persons are considered living in households with very low work intensity if they are aged 0-59 and the working age members in the household worked less than 20 % of their potential during the past year.

Since the EU target to reduce poverty and social exclusion was set (based on 2009 levels) the number has grown enormously.

The following is the number of people (in thousands) experiencing poverty and social exclusion in the EU and some other countries

 

  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
European Union (changing composition) : : : : 123,614e 122,703e 121,897e 118,820e
EU (28 countries) : : 117,678 120,667 123,614 122,703 121,897 118,820
EU (27 countries) 115,908 114,208 116,356 119,282 122,230 121,433 120,654 117,604
Euro area (19 countries) 71,197 71,266 72,723 75,887 77,373 76,681 77,825 76,665
Euro area (18 countries) 70,287 70,323 71,656 74,875 76,398 75,764 77,020 75,808
Belgium 2,194 2,145 2,235 2,271 2,356 2,286 2,339 2,336
Bulgaria 3,421b 3,511 3,719 3,693 3,621 3,493 2,909b 2,982
Czech Republic 1,566 1,448 1,495 1,598 1,580 1,508 1,532 1,444
Denmark 887 962 1,007 969b 965 1,025 1,006 999
Germany 16,345 16,217 15,962 16,074 15,909 16,212 16,508 16,083
Estonia 291 312 289 307 311 313 338b 315
Ireland 1,050 1,150 1,220 1,319 1,392 1,377 1,267 1,204
Greece 3,046 3,007 3,031 3,403 3,795 3,904 3,885 3,829
Spain 10,786b 11,336 12,029 12,363 12,628 12,630 13,402 13,175
France 11,150b 11,200 11,712 11,840 11,760 11,245 11,540 11,048
Croatia : : 1,322 1,384 1,384 1,271 1,243 1,216
Italy 15,082 14,799 14,891 16,858 17,975 17,229 17,146 17,469
Cyprus 181b 188 202 207 234 240 234 244
Latvia 740b 808 798 821 731 702 645 606
Lithuania 910 943 1,068 1,011 975 917 804 857
Luxembourg 72 85 83 84 95 96 96 95
Hungary 2,794 2,924 2,948 3,093 3,272 3,398 3,097 2,735
Malta 81 82 86 90 94 99 99 94
Netherlands 2,432 2,483 2,483 2,598 2,492 2,648 2,751 2,744
Austria 1,699b 1,577 1,566 1,593 1,542 1,572 1,609 1,551
Poland 11,491b 10,454 10,409 10,196 10,128 9,748 9,337 8,761
Portugal 2,757 2,648 2,693 2,601 2,667 2,879 2,863 2,765
Romania 9,115 8,795 8,425 8,265 8,673 8,392 8,043 7,435
Slovenia 361 339 366 386 392 410 410 385
Slovakia 1,111 1,061 1,118 1,112 1,109 1,070 960 963
Finland 910 886 890 949 916 854 927 904
Sweden 1,367 1,459 1,419 1,538 1,519 1,602 1,636 1,555
United Kingdom 14,069 13,389 14,211 14,044 15,099b 15,586 15,271 15,028
Iceland 36 36 42 41 38 40 35 41
Norway 701 724 716 705 681 714 682 770
Switzerland 1,333 1,338 1,291 1,308 1,350 1,271 1,315b :
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the : : 972 1,038 1,038 993 894 860
Serbia : : : : : 3,005 3,068 2,926
Turkey 44,267 45,051 46,870 46,163 45,135 38,131b :  
  :=not available e=estimated b=break in time series d=definition differs

Source: Eurostat

 

The following is the percentages of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion in the EU and some other countries.    

  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
European Union (changing composition) : : : : 24.7e 24.6e 24.4e 23.7e
EU (28 countries) : : 23.7 24.3 24.7 24.6 24.4 23.7
EU (27 countries) 23.7 23.3 23.7 24.2 24.7 24.5 24.4 23.7
Euro area (19 countries) 21.7 21.6 22.0 22.9 23.3 23.1 23.5 23.1
Euro area (18 countries) 21.6 21.6 21.9 22.8 23.2 23.1 23.5 23.0
Belgium 20.8 20.2 20.8 21.0 21.6 20.8 21.2 21.1
Bulgaria 44.8b 46.2 49.2 49.1 49.3 48.0 40.1b 41.3
Czech Republic 15.3 14.0 14.4 15.3 15.4 14.6 14.8 14.0
Denmark 16.3 17.6 18.3 17.6b 17.5 18.3 17.9 17.7
Germany 20.1 20.0 19.7 19.9 19.6 20.3 20.6 20.0
Estonia 21.8 23.4 21.7 23.1 23.4 23.5 26.0b 24.2
Ireland 23.7 25.7 27.3 29.4 30.3 29.9 27.5 25.9
Greece 28.1 27.6 27.7 31.0 34.6 35.7 36.0 35.7
Spain 23.8b 24.7 26.1 26.7 27.2 27.3 29.2 28.6
France 18.5b 18.5 19.2 19.3 19.1 18.1 18.5 17.7
Croatia : : 31.1 32.6 32.6 29.9 29.3 29.1
Italy 25.5 24.9 25.0 28.1 29.9 28.5 28.3 28.7
Cyprus 23.3b 23.5 24.6 24.6 27.1 27.8 27.4 28.9
Latvia 34.2b 37.9 38.2 40.1 36.2 35.1 32.7 30.9
Lithuania 28.3 29.6 34.0 33.1 32.5 30.8 27.3 29.3
Luxembourg 15.5 17.8 17.1 16.8 18.4 19.0 19.0 18.5
Hungary 28.2 29.6 29.9 31.5 33.5 34.8 31.8 28.2
Malta 20.1 20.3 21.2 22.1 23.1 24.0 23.8 22.4
Netherlands 14.9 15.1 15.1 15.7 15.0 15.9 16.5 16.4
Austria 20.6b 19.1 18.9 19.2 18.5 18.8 19.2 18.3
Poland 30.5b 27.8 27.8 27.2 26.7 25.8 24.7 23.4
Portugal 26.0 24.9 25.3 24.4 25.3 27.5 27.5 26.6
Romania 44.2 43.0 41.5 40.9 43.2 41.9 40.3 37.4
Slovenia 18.5 17.1 18.3 19.3 19.6 20.4 20.4 19.2
Slovakia 20.6 19.6 20.6 20.6 20.5 19.8 18.4 18.4
Finland 17.4 16.9 16.9 17.9 17.2 16.0 17.3 16.8
Sweden 14.9 15.9 15.0 16.1 15.6 16.4 16.9 16.0
United Kingdom 23.2 22.0 23.2 22.7 24.1b 24.8 24.1 23.5
Iceland 11.8 11.6 13.7 13.7 12.7 13.0 11.2 13.0
Norway 15.0 15.2 14.9 14.5 13.7 14.1 13.5 15.0
Switzerland 18.1 17.9 17.2 17.2 17.5 16.3 16.4b :
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the : : 47.2 50.4 50.3 48.1 43.3 41.6
Serbia : : : : : 42.0 43.1 41.3
Turkey 63.9 63.9 65.7 63.8 61.3 51.2b : :
  :=not available e=estimated b=break in time series d=definition differs

Source: Eurostat