In 2018, 109.2 million people, or 21.7% of the population, in the European Union (EU) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This means that they were in at least one of the following three conditions: at risk of poverty after social transfers (income poverty), severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
According to Eurostat, after three consecutive increases between 2009 and 2012 to reach almost 25%, the proportion of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU has since continuously decreased to 21.7% last year, 2 percentage points below its 2008 reference-point and 0.7 percentage points below the 2017 level.
Despite this fall from the peak in 2012 (123.8 million people), only 8.2 million people (including Croatia) were lifted out of the risk of poverty or social exclusion compared to the 2008 baseline (116.1 million excluding Croatia). This number remains at a distance from the Europe 2020 target: lifting at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and social exclusion compared to the baseline. The reduction of the number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU is one of the key targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.
More specifically in Cyprus the same percentage was 23.3% in 2008 and 23.9% in 2018 (or 181.000 and 206.000 individuals respectively).
In Cyprus the percentage of people at-risk-of-poverty after social transfers was 15.9% and 15.4% the persons severely materially deprived 9.1% and 10.2% and the persons aged 0-59 living in households with very low work intensity was 4.5% and 8.6% for 2008 and 2018 respectively.
In Greece the percentage of people at-risk-of-poverty after social transfers was 20.1% in 2008 and 18.5% in 2018, the persons severely materially deprived 11.2% and 16.7% and the persons aged 0-59 living in households with very low work intensity was 7.5% and 14.6% for the two reference years.
In Greece the percentage of the population at risk of poverty was 28.1% in 2008 and 31.8% in 2018 (or 3.046 million and 3.349 million individuals respectively).
In 2018, more than a quarter of the population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in seven Member States: Bulgaria (32.8%), Romania (32.5%), Greece (31.8%), Latvia (28.4%), Lithuania (28.3%), Italy (27.3%) and Spain (26.1%). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest shares of persons being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Czechia (12.2%), Slovenia (16.2%), Slovakia (16.3%, 2017 data), Finland (16.5%), the Netherlands (16.7%), Denmark and France (both 17.4%) and Austria (17.5%).
Among Member States for which 2018 data are available, the at risk of poverty or social exclusion rate has grown since 2008 in nine Member States: Luxembourg (from 15.5% in 2008 to 21.9% in 2018, or +6.4 percentage points) Greece (+3.7 pp), Estonia (+2.6 pp), Spain (+2.3 pp), Italy and the Netherlands (both +1.8 pp), Sweden (+1.3 pp), Denmark (+1.1 pp) and Cyprus (+0.6 pp). In contrast, the largest decrease was observed in Bulgaria (from 44.8% to 32.8%, or -12.0 pp), Romania (-11.7 pp) and Poland (-11.6 pp), followed by Hungary (-8.6 pp) and Latvia (-5.8 pp).
Looking at each of the three elements contributing to being at risk of poverty or social exclusion, 16.9% of the EU population were at risk of poverty after social transfers in 2018, meaning that their disposable income was below their national at risk of poverty threshold. This proportion is stable compared with 2017 (16.9%), but is still slightly higher than in 2008 (16.6%).
Across the EU Member States, more than 1 in 5 persons were at risk of income poverty in Romania (23.5%), Latvia (23.3%), Lithuania (22.9%), Bulgaria (22.0%), Estonia (21.9%), Spain (21.5%) and Italy (20.3%).
In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Czechia (9.6%), Finland (12.0%), Slovakia (12.4%, 2017 data), Denmark (12.7%), Hungary (12.8%), the Netherlands and Slovenia (both 13.3%) and France (13.4%). Compared with 2008, the proportion of persons at risk of income poverty has increased in sixteen Member States, for which data are available, and decreased in eight.
In the EU in 2018, 5.8% of the population 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. This proportion has decreased compared with both 2017 (6.6%) and 2008 (8.5%).
The share of those severely materially deprived in 2018 varied significantly among Member States, ranging from 20.9% in Bulgaria, 16.8% in Romania and 16.7% in Greece, to less than 4% in Luxembourg (1.3%), Sweden (1.6%), the Netherlands (2.4%), Czechia, Austria and Finland (all 2.8%), Malta (3.0%), Germany (3.1%), Denmark (3.4%), Slovenia (3.7%) and Estonia (3.8%).
Compared with 2008, the proportion of persons severely materially deprived has increased in seven Member States for which data are available, and decreased in seventeen.
Looking at low work intensity, 9.0% of the population aged 0-59 in the EU lived in households where the adults worked less than 20% of their total work potential during the past year. This proportion has decreased compared with 2017 (9.5%) and is also lower than the 2008 level (9.2%).
Ireland (16.2%, 2017 data), Greece (14.6%), Belgium (12.1%), Italy (11.3%), Croatia (11.2%), Denmark (11.1%), Finland (10.8%) and Spain (10.7%) had the highest proportions of those living in very low work intensity households, while Czechia (4.5%), Estonia (5.2%), Slovenia (5.4%), Slovakia (5.4%, 2017 data), Malta (5.5%), Poland (5.6%) and Hungary (5.7%) had the lowest.
Compared with 2008, the share of persons aged 0-59 living in households with very low work intensity has increased in fourteen Member States for which data are available, and decreased in ten.