In 2011, 119.6 million people, or 24.2% of the population, in the EU27 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 23.4% in 2010 and 23.5% in 2008. This, says Eurostat, which published these data on 3 December 2012, means that they were at least in one of the following three conditions: at risk of poverty(1); severely materially deprived(2); or living in households with very low work intensity(3).
The highest shares of persons being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Bulgaria (49%), Romania and Latvia (both 40%), Lithuania (33%), Greece and Hungary (both 31%), and the lowest in the Czech Republic (15%), the Netherlands and Sweden (both 16%), Luxembourg and Austria (both 17%).
Looking at each of the three elements contributing to being at risk of poverty or social exclusion, 17% of the population in the EU27 in 2011 were at risk of poverty after social transfers. The highest at risk of poverty rates were observed in Bulgaria, Romania and Spain (all 22%) and Greece (21%), and the lowest in the Czech Republic (10%), the Netherlands (11%), Austria, Denmark and Slovakia (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.
In the EU27, 9% of the population were severely materially...