The risk of poverty bites. In 2021, more than one in 5 people in Europe is at risk of poverty or social exclusion. It is 21,7% of the population.
The latest Eurostat data on the risk of poverty and social exclusion refer to 2021 (1). Given the crisis in energy prices and the rush of inflation, the fear is that, to date, the situation is even worse. While the alarm has already been raised about the risk of an increase in energy poverty (2).
in 2021, 95,4 million people in the EU, equal to 21,7% of the population, were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, i.e. they lived in families with at least one of the three risk factors:
It is a given a slight increase compared to 2020, when 21,6% of the population (94,8 million) was already in this situation.
The risk of poverty or social exclusion does not strictly depend on a family's income level, because it also reflects unemployment status, low work intensity, working conditions and a range of socio-economic characteristics, explains Eurostat.
The risk of poverty o Social exclusion is greater in the EU for women (rather than men), for young adults (rather than for middle-aged or elderly people), for people with a low level of education (compared to those with medium or tertiary qualification) and, in particular, for the unemployed.
Among the over 95 million of Europeans in difficulty, there are about 5,9 million (equal to 1,3% of the total population) who live in families where all three factors of risk of poverty / social exclusion occur simultaneously.
In the detail of the Eurostat analysis, in 2021 there are in the EU
The presence of dependent children is incisive. In 2021, more than a fifth (22,5%) of people living in households with dependent children in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, a share actually quite close to that of families and without children load (20,9%).
However, these percentages vary a lot from one European country to another. For families with dependent children, the risk of poverty / social exclusion varies from a maximum of 35,4% in Romania, to 31,7% in Greece and 31,5% in Spain to 11,4% in Finland. and 9,9% in Slovenia.
Another rift it concerns the generational factor. It is not a Europe for young people, because it is young people (and children) who are most affected by poverty and hardship.
If analyzed by age, in fact, in 2021 in the EU the highest risk of poverty or social exclusion is recorded for young people aged between 18 and 24 (27,3%), while the lowest risk is for women. people aged 65 or over (19,6%).
Between these two extremes there are all the intermediate values: the risk is equal to 20,2% for people aged between 25 and 49 and 21,9% for the population aged between 50 and 64.
The very young, adolescents and children are also at risk: among people under 18, almost one in four (24,4%) is at high risk of poverty or social exclusion.
In addition to ageAnother important aspect is the level of education.
in 2021, more than a third (34,8%) of all people aged 18 and over with a low level of education in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared to 10,3% of people in the same age group with a high level of education.
Then there are the national differences, which highlight the uneven situation of the European community and the peoples who inhabit it. The highest percentages of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion are in Romania (34%), Bulgaria (32%), Greece and Spain (both 28%). While the lowest percentages are in Czechia (11%), Slovenia (13%) and Finland (14%). In Italy, provisional data indicate that 25% of the population, one in four citizens, is at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
Poverty and disability they often go together. Making ends meet is more difficult for people with disabilities. Thus it happens that the "poor disabled" is often included in the category of "disabled poor". The prevalence of poverty among the disabled over-16 in fact exceeds by 10 points, 26,1% vs. 16%, that of non-disabled people (as evidenced by a Eurostat report of February 2021) (3).
in 2019, 26,1% of adults (aged 16 and over) with disabilities in the EU lived in families who reported having difficulty making ends meet, with financial resources that did not cover the necessary expenses (4).
41% of citizens with disabilities in the EU cannot afford a week of annual leave - poverty and disability also mean holidays off limits.
11,3% of people with disabilities in the EU, it cannot afford to eat meat, fish or a vegetarian equivalent every other day (compared to 5,8% of people without disabilities who find themselves in this condition). 40,9% of people with disabilities in the EU cannot incur unforeseen financial expenses (compared to 27,4% among those without any disabilities). A home repair, the replacement of an appliance, even an indispensable device or aid, or a surgery, a funeral, are often insurmountable for the disabled. Eurostat data is from 2019 and, once again, it is to be feared that the European price, energy and inflation crisis will only worsen the situation.
(1) Eurostat. Over 1 in 5 at risk of poverty or social exclusion https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/ddn-20220915-1
(2) Energy poverty and rationing, bonuses and rights of disabled and elderly people
(3) Disability and poverty, the Eurostat report
(4) Eurostat. Disability statistics - financial situation