Tuesday

19th Jun 2018

One in four young people in EU at risk of poverty, study says

  • Twenty countries recorded a higher rate of poverty and risk of social exclusion among young people than among the general population. (Photo: Helena Spongenberg)

Almost a quarter of the EU's population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion, according to statistics released Wednesday (8 February), with 13 member states recording a rise in the number of their citizens considered vulnerable.

The figures for 2010 show that 115 million Europeans, or 23.4 percent of the EU population, live in households with less than the poverty-threshold disposable income, in households where there is severe material deprivation (such as a lack of heating) or where the adults worked less than 20 percent of their total work potential.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

Bulgaria has the highest percentage of population (42%) falling into one or more of these categories, followed by Romania (41%), Latvia (38%), Lithuania (33%) and Hungary (30%).

While 13 of the 25 member states that provided information recorded a rise in the numbers affected when compared with 2009, Spain (23.4% to 25.5%) and Lithuania (29.5% to 33.4%) saw the greatest leap from one year to the next.

The lowest rates of poverty and social exclusion were recorded in the Czech Republic (14%), Sweden and the Netherlands (both 17%).

The deprivation figures were even higher among those under 17 years of age with 27 percent of youth across the EU falling below the threshold. In all, 20 countries recorded a higher rate of poverty and risk of social exclusion among young people than among the general population.

Romania's youth are the worst off in the EU where almost half of them (48.7%) are vulnerable. Young people in Bulgaria (44.6%) and Latvia (42%) fare little better - while Bulgaria also distinguishes itself by having by far the highest percentage of elderly people - 55.9 percent - considered deprived.

The poverty statistics come atop of unemployment statistics published last week recording a record high jobless rate in the EU, with some 23 million people without work.

Joblessness and poverty has been pushed up the political agenda in the EU with analysts increasingly questioning the merits of the austerity drive in the eurozone as governments seek to rein in spending - with the public sector the first in line to be hit.

At a summit at the end of January, EU leaders made a point of devoting debate and the subsequent summit conclusions to plans for economic growth - but there were few spending commitments while the EU commission itself is limited by the fact that employment is largely a member state power.

Meanwhile, the current harsh winter temperatures have thrown a spotlight on Europe's homeless and socially vulnerable people, as hundreds have died due to the cold across the continent.

The media in Belgium, home to the EU's institutions, has been reporting for several days on the need get people off the streets as temperatures have at times plunged to around minus 20. But the reporting has also highlighted the plight of people who have fallen into arrears on rent, are living in poorly-insulated apartments and are unable to pay for nutritious food or afford heating bills.

An appeal in response to the cold called Winter2012, run by Belgian broadcaster RTBF, since the beginning of the week has seen around 5,000 calls lodged.

Some 75 percent have been by people offering to help in the form of bedclothes, shelter and heating. The rest are calls by people looking for aid. Of these, half wanted heating, 15 percent bedclothes, 10 percent lodging and 5 percent voluntary assistance.

EU anti-poverty plan lacks substance, says civil society

The European Commission unveiled on Thursday a ten-year plan to combat poverty in the bloc, aiming to cut the number of people living in poverty by 20 million by 2020. Anti-poverty campaign groups cautiously welcomed the plan, but said that the EU needs to go further than "good intentions" with "urgent actions."

Opinion

Europe 2020 and the battle against poverty: back to square one?

A lack of political willingness among member states to tackle poverty as well as the technical possibilities offered by the adoption of three separate ‘poverty indicators' to circumvent the agreed 2020 poverty reduction target means Europe's poor may not be better off in ten year's time, writes Wim Van Lancker.

EU unemployment hits record high

Twenty three million people in the EU are struggling to find jobs, as the economic crisis and austerity cuts unfold into severe social consequences.

Feature

Resetting the gender balance through football

Many sports, like football, have been so heavily male-dominated at every level that women and girls have battled against poor odds to be treated as equals in the game. FIFA aims to change that.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Audi CEO arrested over Dieselgate
  2. EU-Australia trade talks kick off in Brussels next month
  3. France and Germany moving closer to eurozone reform
  4. Merkel to meet Conte to find migration compromise
  5. Seehofer gives Merkel time to strike EU migration deal
  6. Schroeder and Sarkozy appear with Putin at World Cup
  7. Tennis champ and 'EU diplomat' claims immunity
  8. Italy threatens to ditch EU-Canada free trade deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  2. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. Orban to EPP: turn 'Christian democratic' or face challenge
  2. Is EU retail sector equipped for 21st century?
  3. Tear gas bodes ill for Macedonia name deal
  4. EU asylum claims drop, Germany registers most
  5. EU summit: migrants get a 'vote' too
  6. Basque threat of 'second front' for independence
  7. Progressive regulation needed now for 21st century finance
  8. Greece and Merkel's fate top This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us