In 2015, around 119 million people, or 23.7% of the population, in the European Union (EU) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This means that they were in at least one of the following three conditions: at-risk-of-poverty after social transfers (income poverty), severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity.
After three consecutive increases between 2009 and 2012 to reach almost 25%, the proportion of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU has since continuously decreased to return to its 2008 level (23.7%), but it remains in 2015 higher than its 2009 low-point (23.3%). The reduction of the number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU is one of the key targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. An infographic is also available on the Eurostat website.
Highest at risk of poverty or social exclusion rate in Bulgaria, lowest in the Czech Republic
In 2015, more than a third of the population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in three Member States: Bulgaria (41.3%), Romania (37.3%) and Greece (35.7%). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest shares of persons being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in the Czech Republic (14.0%), Sweden (16.0%), the Netherlands and Finland (both 16.8%), Denmark and France (both 17.7%).
Largest decrease in the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate in Poland and Romania, highest increase in Greece and Cyprus
Among Member States for which data are available, the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate has grown from 2008 to 2015 in fifteen Member States, with the highest increases being recorded in Greece (from 28.1% in 2008 to 35.7% in 2015, or +7.6 percentage points), Cyprus (+5.6 pp), Spain (+4.8 pp), Italy (+3.2 pp) and Luxembourg (+3.0 pp). In contrast, the largest decreases among Member States for which data are available were observed in Poland (from 30.5% to 23.4%, or -7.1 pp) and Romania (-6.9 pp), followed by Bulgaria (-3.5 pp) and Latvia (-3.3 pp). At EU level, the percentage of the total population being at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2015 (23.7%) was back to its 2008 level.