Bulgaria 1st in EU by Share of Materially Deprived People
The proportion of people in the European Union that were materially deprived in 2010 was highest in Bulgaria (55.6 %).
The data was published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU.
Bulgaria is followed by Romania (49.2 %) and Latvia (46.1 %).
The three countries are among the EU Member States, where more than half of the materially-deprived persons in each of these countries experience severe material deprivation.
Similarly, in Hungary, Lithuania and Poland (which reported the next three highest material deprivation rates), more than half of those considered as materially deprived experienced severe material deprivation. Less than one in ten people in Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Nordic and Switzerland were materially deprived.
Overall, about one in every six (17.5 %) of the 27 EU Member States population was materially deprived in 2010, with just under half of these (8.1 % of the total population) being considered as experiencing severe material deprivation.
In 2010, only 0.5 % of the population were severely deprived in Luxembourg, 1.3 % fell into this category in Sweden and 3 % or less were classified as being materially-deprived in the other Nordic countries and the Netherlands. Switzerland also had a very small percentage (2.0 %) of the population that was classified as being severely materially deprived.
On the other hand, in Bulgaria and Romania, more than 30% of the population was found to be severely materially deprived.
Moreover, while at the EU-27 level, the rate of severe material deprivation remained stable between 2009 and 2010, it increased in the Baltic countries (by 5.5% in Latvia, 4.4% in Lithuania, 2.8% in Estonia), in the UK (1.5%), Hungary (1.3%) and Malta (1.0%), while it decreased in Bulgaria (-6.9%) and to a lesser extent in Romania (-1.2%).
However, comparing 2010 with 2011 values, where available, the largest increase (8.6%) was reported by Bulgaria while the greatest decrease was reported by Romania (-1.6%).
In 2010, around 36 % of the EU population reported difficulties in facing unexpected expenses. This represents an increase of 1% compared with 2009.
There is considerable variation among Member States.
The percentage of people reporting such difficulties is 25 % or less in Austria, Luxembourg, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden as well as in Norway and Switzerland; while it is above 60 % in Lithuania, Bulgaria and Hungary, reaching a maximum of 77.6 % in Latvia.
Compared with 2009, the percentage of people reporting difficulties in facing unexpected expenses increased by more than 5% in Estonia (14.0%), Lithuania (9.5%), Cyprus (7%), Latvia (6.8%) and Bulgaria (6.7%).
At the same time it fell by more than 2% only in Sweden (-2.7%). Comparing 2010 with 2011 values, where available, the largest increase (6.2%) was reported by Greece while the largest decline was reported by Slovakia (-2.4%).
The rates of severe material deprivation are not uniformly distributed between the different household types.
Overall at the EU-27 level, the most severely materially-deprived persons lived in single person households with dependent children (17 %) followed by single male households (11.2 %) and households with two adults and three or more dependent children (11 %).
On the other hand, persons living in households with elderly people (two adults, at least one aged 65 years or over) were overall the least affected (4.7 %) most probably due to the accumulation of durable goods during their working lives and more opportunities to save money.
However, in Greece, Lithuania and Romania, the percentage of the population that was found to be severely materially-deprived in single person households was similar to the percentage of those found in single person households with dependent children. In Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal, households with two adults and one dependent child were the least affected ones by severely material deprivation, not those households with elderly people.
In Bulgaria and Romania particularly, the most affected were those households with two adults with three or more dependent children.
In 2010, there were 115.7 million people in the EU-27, equivalent to 23.4 % of the entire population, who lived in households facing poverty or social exclusion. This is an increase of 0.3% (equivalent to approximately 2 million people) compared to 2009.
The latest developments between 2009, 2010 and 2011 – subject to data availability – show that the proportion of the population at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion fell in Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Romania.
All of the remaining EU Member States reported an increase in the proportion of persons at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion during the most recent year for which data are available.
By far the largest increases occurred in Bulgaria (7.5% in 2011) and Ireland (4.2% in 2010), followed by Greece (3.3% in 2011), Latvia (2.0% in 2011) and Spain (1.5% in 2011).
The definition of material deprivation is based on the inability to afford a selection of items that are considered to be necessary or desirable, namely: having arrears on mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase installments or other loan payments; not being able to afford one week's annual holiday away from home; not being able to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day; not being able to face unexpected financial expenses; not being able to buy a telephone (including mobile phone); not being able to buy a color television; not being able to buy a washing machine; not being able to buy a car; or not being able to afford heating to keep the house warm.
The material deprivation rate is defined as the proportion of persons who cannot afford to pay for at least three out of the nine items specified above, while those who are unable to afford four or more items are considered to be severely materially deprived.
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