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Published: 20 March 2014

The risk of poverty decreased in all age groups in 2012

According to Statistics Finland's Income distribution statistics, the number of persons at risk of poverty decreased in all age groups in 2012. In relative terms, the number of children living in low income households decreased most, and was in 2012 at the same level as in 2000. The number of persons at risk of poverty aged 75 or older also decreased considerably in relative terms but still around one in four of elderly persons are at risk of poverty.

At-risk-of-povery rate by the person's age in 1987 to 2012

At-risk-of-povery rate by the person's age in 1987 to 2012

In 2012, some 102,000 children were living in low income households, which was 19,000 fewer than in 2011. In addition to the number, children's at-risk-of-poverty rate also decreased and amounted to 9.4 per cent in 2012. The at-risk-of-poverty rate of children living in one-supporter families is more than double (19.8%) compared to that of children living in two-supporter families (7.7%). The number of elderly persons aged 75 or over at risk of poverty was 104,000, which was around 14,000 persons fewer than in 2011.

In total, there were 635,000 persons at risk of poverty, which was approximately 70,000 fewer than in the year before. The number of persons at risk of poverty has been around 700,000 annually between 2007 and 2011 and the proportion of persons at risk of poverty in total population has fluctuated between 13.2 and 13.9. In 2012, the at-risk-of-poverty rate was 11.9. Thus, the prolonged trend of growth that had continued since the mid-1990 has at least halted but conclusions of a permanent downturn cannot be drawn based on one year.

The at-risk-of-poverty threshold is calculated annually based on the national median income per consumption unit 1) . Income refers to the monetary income after taxes and consists of earned income, property income, and transfers. In 2012, the median income decreased by EUR 55 from the previous year and the at-risk-of-poverty threshold by around EUR 33 amounting to EUR 13,990 per year or EUR 1,170 per month. If the at-risk-of-poverty threshold had remained the same as in 2011 in real terms, the number of persons at risk of poverty would have been around 642,000, which would have been some 7,000 persons higher than when using the annually changing at-risk-of-poverty threshold.

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 each are 0.5 consumption units and children aged 0 to 13 each are 0.3 consumption units. 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 2012, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kaisa-Mari Okkonen 09 1734 3408

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


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Updated 20.3.2014

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Income distribution statistics [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-1331. Income inequality (international comparison) 2012. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 17.4.2024].
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