Published: 24 May 2018

Number of EU citizens at risk of poverty or social exclusion is 118 million

In all, 23.5 per cent of the citizens of the European Union’s 28 member states were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2015. In Finland, 16.6 per cent of the household population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, around 896,000 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.

Share of persons living at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) in EU countries and certain other European countries in 2015

Share of persons living at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) in EU countries and certain other European countries in 2015
Source: Eurostat, European statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC 2016, income reference year 2015, except for the United Kingdom 2016). 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 25 April 2018.

The risk of poverty or social exclusion in Europe was highest in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, lowest in Iceland. Finland’s share is the fourth lowest. 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. In all, 17.3 per cent of the population in the EU Member States belonged to low income households in 2015.

For Finland, there are data available on persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion already from 2016. In all, 15.7 per cent of the population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2016, that is, 849,000 persons. This is the lowest share in the whole 11-year reference period. The share of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion has varied in Finland between 15.7 and 17.9 per cent in 2005 to 2016. A majority of the share of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Finland is explained with low income earners: around 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 2016

 Share of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Finland in 2005 to 2016
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 are found by the year of data collection (income reference year + 1).

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. It aims to reduce the number of persons living at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU by 20 million by 2020 compared with 2008, when there were 116 million people at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Compared with 2015, attaining the target would require lifting around 22 million persons out of the risk of poverty or social exclusion. Finland’s national target is to reduce the number of persons living at risk of poverty or social exclusion to around 770,000, which is 150,000 fewer than in 2008. Compared with the 2016 level (849,000), attaining the target would thus require lifting another around 80,000 persons out of the risk of poverty or social exclusion.

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 2016, 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 24.5.2018

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Income distribution statistics [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-1331. Income inequality (international comparison) 2016. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 23.9.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/tjt/2016/04/tjt_2016_04_2018-05-24_tie_001_en.html