The Netherlands has one of lowest poverty rates in Europe

Poverty has increased in The Netherlands, but the Dutch still have one of the lowest poverty rates in Europe, according to a new report by Eurostat, which was released Wednesday.

In 2012, the highest shares of persons being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Bulgaria (49%), Romania (42%), Latvia (37%) and Greece (35%), and the lowest in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic (both 15%), Finland (17%), Sweden and Luxembourg (both 18%).

In 2012, 124.5 million people, or 24.8% of the population, in the EU1 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 24.3% in 2011 and 23.7% in 2008. This means that they were in at least one of the following three conditions: at-risk-of-poverty2, severely materially deprived2 or living in households with very low work intensity2. 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 strategy3.

These figures4 are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union and are based on data from the EU-SILC survey5.

17% of the population in the EU28 at risk of income poverty
Looking at each of the three elements contributing to being at risk of poverty or social exclusion, 17% of the EU28 population in 2012 were at-risk-of-poverty after social transfers, meaning that their disposable income was below their national at-risk-of-poverty threshold2. The highest at-risk-of-poverty rates were observed in Greece and Romania (both 23%), Spain (22%), Bulgaria and Croatia (both 21%), and the lowest in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands (both 10%), Denmark, Slovakia and Finland (all 13%). It is important to note that the at-risk-of- poverty rate is a relative measure of poverty and that the poverty threshold varies greatly between Member States. The threshold varies also over time and in a number of Member States it has fallen in recent years due to the economic crisis.

10% severely materially deprived
In the EU28, 10% of the population were severely materially deprived, meaning that they had living conditions constrained by a lack of resources such as not being able to afford to pay their bills, keep their home adequately warm, or take a one week holiday away from home2. The share of those severely materially deprived varied significantly among Member States, ranging from less than 5% in Luxembourg and Sweden (both 1%), the Netherlands (2%), Denmark and Finland (both 3%) and Austria (4%) to 44% in Bulgaria, 30% in Romania and 26% in Latvia and Hungary.

10% living in households with very low work intensity

For low work intensity, 10% of the population aged 0-59 in the EU28 lived in households where the adults worked less than 20% of their total work potential during the past year2. Croatia (16%), Spain, Greece and Belgium (all 14%) had the highest proportion of those living in very low work intensity households, and Luxembourg and Cyprus (both 6%) the lowest.

Source: Eurostat

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