Published: 26 May 2017

119 million EU citizens are at risk of poverty or social exclusion

All in all, 23.7 per cent of the citizens of the European Union’s 28 member states were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2014. In Finland, 16.8 per cent of the household population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, around 904,000 persons. These data derive from the results of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions, where Finland's data are based on Statistics Finland’s income distribution statistics.

Persons living at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) in Europe in 2014, %

Persons living at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) in Europe in 2014, %
Source: Eurostat, European statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC 2015, income reference year 2014, except for the United Kingdom 2015). Data are presented by income reference year but on the Eurostat website the corresponding data are found by the year of data collection (income reference year + 1). Data extracted on 24th April 2017.

The risk of poverty or social exclusion in Europe was highest in Macedonia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, lowest in Iceland. Finland’s share is the fifth lowest among the EU countries. People at risk of poverty or social exclusion include low income earners, those who are severely materially deprived or living in a household with low work intensity. In a majority of countries, low income earners are most common. All in all, 17.3 per cent of the population in the EU Member States belonged to low income households in 2014.

For Finland, there are data available on persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion already from 2015. In all, 16.6 per cent of the population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2015, that is 896,000 persons. In other words, the share decreased slightly from the previous year. The share of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion has varied in Finland between 16 and 17.9 per cent in 2005 to 2015. A majority of the share of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Finland is explained with low income earners: on average, three out of four persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion are low income earners.

Share of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Finland in 2005 to 2015

 Share of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Finland in 2005 to 2015
Source: Eurostat, European statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC). Data are presented by income reference year but on the Eurostat website the corresponding data arefound by the year of data collection (income reference year + 1). Data extracted on 24th April 2017.

The so-called AROPE indicator (At Risk of Poverty or Social Exclusion) that measures the risk of poverty or social exclusion is part of the monitoring of the objective of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Persons are classified as being at-risk-of-poverty when they live in a household, whose disposable monetary income per consumption unit is below 60 per cent of the national median income. Persons living in a household with low work intensity are all persons aged under 60, whose household's work input is below 20 per cent of the household's potential work input in the survey year. Potential work input refers to the combined theoretical working months of the household members aged between 18 and 59 (excl. non-independent young people aged between 18 and 24) per year. Persons, whose household suffers deprivation measured by at least four indicators out of nine are considered severely materially deprived. The indicators are experiencing payment difficulties, difficulty coping with unexpected financial expenses or that the household cannot afford a telephone, washing machine, television, car, protein-rich meal every other day, one week's holiday per year outside the home or keep their home warm enough.


Source: Income Distribution Statistics 2015, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kaisa-Mari Okkonen 029 551 3408, Veli-Matti Törmälehto 029 551 3680

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Updated 26.5.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Income distribution statistics [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-1331. Income, housing and housing expenditure 2015. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 23.11.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/tjt/2015/04/tjt_2015_04_2017-05-26_tie_001_en.html

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