Fewer living at risk of poverty in Europe

The proportion of people living at risk of poverty has dropped in most European countries over the last five years. But a few countries counters this trend, and large gaps remain within nations. In this report we look closer at the risk of poverty across Europe.

People are at risk of poverty when their income is significantly lower than that of the population as a whole. The European Union considers a person at risk of poverty if their disposable income is under 60 per cent of the country’s median income. It is important to note that this is a relative measure of poverty, where the threshold will vary from country to country. The risk of poverty doesn’t tell us about absolute poverty, i.e. lacking the income to meet basic needs.

Different groups in society are more exposed to the risk of poverty. For instance, almost half (48%) of unemployed people across EU member states fall into risk of poverty, according to figures from Eurostat. Single parents are also especially at risk: almost half (46%) of people in single person households with dependent children were classified as at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU in 2018.

Trends over time

Looking over time, the trend is clear: the proportion of people living at risk of poverty has decreased in almost all European countries over the last five years.

There are only six countries bucking the trend, and these are mostly wealthy countries in Northern and Western Europe, where the risk of poverty is relatively low but has increased somewhat. Luxembourg has had the greatest increase in people living at risk of poverty since 2013.

Although Eastern and Southern Europe both have some of the continent’s highest risks of poverty today, the two regions are heading in quite different directions. In Eastern Europe the risk of poverty has dropped significantly in recent years, especially in Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland. In many parts of Spain and Italy, it has increased.

Regional patterns

There are clear regional patterns to the risk of poverty in Europe. Most people are at risk in southern and eastern Europe, with the southern parts of Italy worst hit.

Three of the regions with the highest risk of poverty in Europe are found in Italy. In Campania and Sicily, more than half of the population is living at the risk of poverty, earning roughly €10,000 or less. At the other end of the scale, five of the regions with lowest risk of poverty are in Czechia, with fewer than one in 10 living at risk of poverty in Prague.

The gap between rich and poor regions, an indication of regional inequality, is considerable in many countries. The difference is biggest in Italy and Spain. Both countries have a significant north-south divide, and in Italy, over four times as many people are living at risk of poverty in southern Sicily and Campania than in the northern province of South Tyrol.

The Stats Monitor

The hundreds of regional reports that we present here were generated by the Stats Monitor , a tool we've developed to track and use newly released data – it currently monitors 14 different topics in Eurostat and national political polls. The Stats Monitor analyzes new data in order to spot interesting trends and outliers, so as to help journalists to find newsworthy material in them.

The chart above shows the gap between different regions of the same country. It only includes countries with regional data available for five or more NUTS 2 regions.

Methodology

  • This data comes from Eurostat, with data up to 2018.
  • Not all countries have regional data on risk of poverty, those that do not have been excluded from the report. Only regions with data from 2018 are included in this report. For example Germany and Austria only have data until 2017.

Regional reports

Here below you can find one unique report for every NUTS2 region  in Europe, based on the latest available Eurostat data  on the risk of poverty. We marked with a star the regional reports where we found something particularly newsworthy. The reports are primarily intended to be used as a starting point for further investigation into poverty trends in Europe.

Abruzzo: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Abruzzo

Agder og Rogaland: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Agder og Rogaland

Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 34 percent in East Macedonia and Thrace

★ Andalucía: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Andalusia has among the highest rates on the continent

Aragón: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Aragon

Attiki: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 28 percent in Attica Department

★ Basilicata: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Basilicata has among the highest rates on the continent

★ Bratislavský kraj: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Bratislava has the lowest rate

Bucuresti-Ilfov: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Bucuresti-Ilfov

Budapest: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 14 percent in Budapest

★ Calabria: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Calabria has among the highest rates on the continent

★ Campania: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Campania has the highest rate on the continent

Canarias: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Canary Islands

Cantabria: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Cantabria

Castilla y León: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Castile and León

Castilla-la Mancha: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Castile-La Mancha

Cataluña: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Catalonia

Centru: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Centru as well

★ Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Ceuta has among the highest rates on the continent

Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Melilla

★ Comunidad Foral de Navarra: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Navarra Chartered Community has among the lowest rates

Comunidad Valenciana: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Valencian Community

Comunidad de Madrid: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Madrid Autonomous Community

Drenthe: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 15 percent in Drenthe

★ Dytiki Ellada: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but West Greece has among the highest rates on the continent

Dytiki Makedonia: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 37 percent in West Macedonia

Dél-Alföld: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Dél-Alföld as well

Dél-Dunántúl: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Dél-Dunántúl as well

Emilia-Romagna: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Emilia-Romagna

Etelä-Suomi: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Etelä-Suomi

★ Extremadura: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Extremadura has among the highest rates on the continent

Flevoland: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 16 percent in Flevoland

Friesland: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 17 percent in Friesland

Friuli-Venezia Giulia: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Galicia: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Galicia

Gelderland: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 16 percent in Gelderland

Groningen: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 22 percent in Groningen

Hedmark og Oppland: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Hedmark og Oppland

★ Helsinki-Uusimaa: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Uusimaa has among the lowest rates

Hovedstaden: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Capital Region

Illes Balears: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Balearic Islands

Ionia Nisia: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 28 percent in Ionian Islands

Ipeiros: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 31 percent in Epirus

Jadranska Hrvatska: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Jadranska Hrvatska

★ Jihovýchod: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Jihovýchod has among the lowest rates

★ Jihozápad: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Jihozápad has among the lowest rates

Kentriki Makedonia: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 30 percent in Central Macedonia

Kontinentalna Hrvatska: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Kontinentalna Hrvatska

★ Kriti: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Crete has among the highest rates on the continent

Közép-Dunántúl: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Közép-Dunántúl as well

La Rioja: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in La Rioja

Lazio: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Lazio

Liguria: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Liguria

Limburg: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 17 percent in Limburg

Lombardia: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Lombardy

Länsi-Suomi, Åland: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Länsi-Suomi ja Ahvenanmaa

Marche: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Marche

Mellersta Norrland: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Mellersta Norrland

Midtjylland: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Central Denmark

Molise: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Molise as well

Moravskoslezsko: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Moravskoslezský

Noord-Brabant: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 14 percent in North Brabant

Noord-Holland: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 18 percent in North Holland

★ Nord-Est: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Nord-Est has among the highest rates on the continent

Nord-Norge: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Nord-Norge

Nord-Vest: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Nord-Vest

Nordjylland: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Northern Denmark

Norra Mellansverige: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Norra Mellansverige

Notio Aigaio: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 36 percent in South Aegean

★ Nyugat-Dunántúl: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Nyugat-Dunántúl has among the lowest rates

Oslo og Akershus: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Oslo og Akershus

Overijssel: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 17 percent in Overijssel

★ País Vasco: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Basque Country has among the lowest rates

Peloponnisos: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 31 percent in Peloponnese

Pest: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 13 percent in Pest

Piemonte: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Piedmont

Pohjois- ja Itä-Suomi: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Pohjois- ja Itä-Suomi

★ Praha: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Prague, Hlavní mešto has among the lowest rates

Principado de Asturias: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Asturias

★ Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen has among the lowest rates

Provincia Autonoma di Trento: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Provincia Autonoma di Trento

Puglia: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Apulia

Región de Murcia: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Murcia Region

Sardegna: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Sardinia

Severen tsentralen: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Severen tsentralen as well

★ Severoiztochen: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Severoiztochen has among the highest rates on the continent

★ Severovýchod: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Severovýchod has among the lowest rates

★ Severozapaden: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Severozapaden has among the highest rates on the continent

Severozápad: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Severozápad

★ Sicilia: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Sicily has among the highest rates on the continent

Sjælland: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Zealand

Småland med öarna: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Småland med öarna

Sostines regionas: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 23 percent in Vilnius County

Sterea Ellada: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 31 percent in Central Greece

Stockholm: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Stockholm

Stredné Slovensko: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Stredné Slovensko

★ Strední Cechy: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Středočeský has among the lowest rates

★ Strední Morava: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Strední Morava has among the lowest rates

Sud - Muntenia: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Sud - Muntenia

★ Sud-Est: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Sud-Est has among the highest rates on the continent

★ Sud-Vest Oltenia: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Sud-Vest Oltenia has among the highest rates on the continent

Syddanmark: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Southern Denmark

Sydsverige: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Sydsverige

Sør-Østlandet: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Sør-Østlandet

Thessalia: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 34 percent in Thessaly

Toscana: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Toscana

Trøndelag: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Trøndelag

Umbria: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Umbria

Utrecht: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 14 percent in Utrecht

Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Aosta Valley

Veneto: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Veneto

Vest: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Vest as well

Vestlandet: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Vestlandet

Vidurio ir vakaru Lietuvos regionas: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 30 percent in Vidurio ir vakaru Lietuvos regionas

Voreio Aigaio: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 34 percent in North Aegean

Västsverige: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Västsverige

Východné Slovensko: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Východné Slovensko

Yugoiztochen: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Yugoiztochen as well

Yugozapaden: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Yugozapaden as well

★ Yuzhen tsentralen: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – but Yuzhen tsentralen has among the highest rates on the continent

Zeeland: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 14 percent in Zeeland

Zuid-Holland: Fewer at risk in poverty in Europe - 19 percent in South Holland

★ Západné Slovensko: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – and Západné Slovensko has among the lowest rates

Észak-Alföld: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Észak-Alföld as well

Észak-Magyarország: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – decrease in Észak-Magyarország as well

Östra Mellansverige: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Östra Mellansverige

Övre Norrland: Fewer at risk of poverty in Europe – only small changes in Övre Norrland