Published: 3 March 2017

Young and old people are most commonly at risk of poverty

Statistics Finland's income distribution statistics indicate that the relative decrease in the total population's risk of poverty that started in 2008 continued in 2015. Over the period, the risk of poverty has decreased by 2.2 percentage points. In 2015, persons at-risk-of-poverty made up 11.7 per cent of the population. The relative at-risk-of-poverty rate has fallen most among those aged 65 or more. The risk of poverty has, however, continued to grow among persons aged 18 to 34. The risk of poverty is still most common among those aged 18 to 34, as well as those aged 75 or over.

Change in the risk-of-poverty rate between 200 and 2015 by age, percentage points

Change in the risk-of-poverty rate between 200 and 2015 by age, percentage points

Of age groups, the at-risk-of-poverty rate was highest for those aged 18 to 24, of whom 26.5 per cent were at risk of poverty in 2015 (table). Two-thirds of those at-risk-of-poverty belonging to this group are students. The at-risk-of-poverty rate of those aged 25 to 34 has grown by nearly four percentage points, or in relative terms most of all age groups compared to 2008. Among persons aged 25 to 34 at-risk-of-poverty, one third were students and one third unemployed persons.

Being at-risk-of-poverty was also common among those aged 75 or over, 18.6 per cent of whom belonged to a household at-risk-of-poverty. The risk of poverty among both those aged 75 or over and those aged 65 to 74 has, however, fallen strongly in the past few years. Compared with 2008, the at-risk-of-poverty rate of those aged 75 or over has decreased by 12.7 percentage points and that of those aged 65 to 74 by 6.4 percentage points.

The risk of poverty is deeper for young people aged 18 to 24 than for others, on average. Over one-third of those aged 18 to 24 below the most commonly used at-risk-of-poverty threshold (60% of median income) were also the most hard up, on the 40 per cent threshold in 2015 (table). Persons aged 65 or over at-risk-of-poverty were, in turn, often close to the risk-of-poverty threshold of 60 per cent, or among those whose income was 50 to 59 per cent of the national median income.

Table. Number of persons at-risk-of-poverty in different sections of the at-risk-of-poverty distribution by the person’s age in 2015

  Income below 40 %
of median
Income 40 % to 49 %
of median
Income 50 % to 59 %
of median
All persons
at-risk-of-poverty
At-risk-of-poverty
rate
All persons 121 000 143 000 370 000 634 000 11,7
Aged 0 to 17 15 000 22 000 64 000 101 000 9,4
Aged 18 to 24 44 000 32 000 41 000 117 000 26,5
Aged 25 to 34 22 000 26 000 48 000 96 000 14,0
Aged 35 to 49 15 000 17 000 44 000 76 000 7,6
Aged 50 to 64 20 000 22 000 63 000 105 000 9,7
Aged 65 to 74 .. .. 43 000 51 000 8,1
Aged 75 or over .. 17 000 67 000 87 000 18,6
1) .. = Data too uncertain for presentation.

Persons are classified as being at-risk-of-poverty when the household's disposable monetary income per consumption unit 1) is below 60 per cent of the national median income. In 2015, the at-risk-of-poverty threshold for a one-person household was EUR 14,220 per year or EUR 1,185 per month. Income refers to the monetary income after taxes and consists of earned income, property income, and transfer income.

In the group close to the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, the income is at least EUR 11,850 but under 14,220 per year (EUR 990 to 1,184 per month). Persons whose household's disposable monetary income is below EUR 9,480 per year, that is, under EUR 790 per month per consumption unit are classified in the group most at-risk-of-poverty (income under 40 per cent of the median). The middlemost group at-risk-of-poverty, whose income is 40 to 49 per cent of the national median income, is placed between these income groups. The income per consumption unit for those belonging to the group is at least EUR 9,480 but under EUR 11,850 per year (EUR 790 to 989 per month).


1) The consumption units are based on the so-called OECD's modified scale. One adult in the household is one consumption unit. Other persons in the household aged at least 14 are 0.5 consumption units each and children aged 0 to 13 are 0.3 consumption units each. A household with one adult member is one consumption unit, while a household consisting of spouses and one child aged under 14 together are 1.8 consumption units.

Source: Income Distribution Statistics 2015, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kaisa-Mari Okkonen 029 551 3408

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Tables

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Quality descriptions

Updated 03.03.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Income distribution statistics [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-1331. Poverty 2015. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 19.9.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/tjt/2015/01/tjt_2015_01_2017-03-03_tie_001_en.html