Migration integration statistics - at risk of poverty and social exclusion
- Data from February 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: January 2018
Migrants play an important role in the labour markets and economies of the countries they settle in. This article presents European Union (EU) statistics on the social inclusion of migrants as part of monitoring their integration and assessing their situation in the labour market. This in turn makes it easier to evaluate the outcomes of integration policies. Together with other articles on migrant integration, this article forms an online Eurostat publication Migrant integration statistics.
The present article elaborates on the existing Zaragoza indicators  on social inclusion together with some proposed additional ones. These indicators cover the social inclusion areas on people at risk of poverty and social exclusion, income distribution and monetary poverty and material deprivation.
It should be noted that data which are presented in the tables of this article but are affected by low reliability due to small sample size or high non-response rates, are not used in the analysis.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 1.1 People at risk of poverty and social exclusion
- 1.2 Income distribution and monetary poverty
- 1.3 Material deprivation
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
- 6 External links
- 7 Notes
Main statistical findings
In 2015, 40.2 % of the non-EU-born population in the EU was assessed to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) compared with 21.7 % of the native-born population.
The at risk of poverty or social exclusion — abbreviated AROPE — refers to the situation of people who are either at risk of poverty, or severely materially deprived or living in a household with a very low work intensity. The AROPE rate, the share of the total population at risk of poverty or social exclusion, is the headline indicator monitoring the EU 2020 poverty target.
As seen in Figure 1, the AROPE rates for the native-born population were lower than for the foreign-born population (whether born in the EU or not) during the 2009–15 period. In particular, the population of non-EU born represents significantly higher rates of AROPE than the native-born in the entire period for which data are available.
From the perspective of the country of citizenship, according to available data (see Figure 2), the greatest gaps in AROPE rates between citizens of the reporting country (nationals) and non-EU citizens were generally observed in Sweden (45.0 percentage points – pp), Belgium (44.9 pp), followed by Spain (37.8 pp), Luxembourg (34.3 pp) and Greece (33.7 pp). By contrast, the AROPE gaps were the smallest in the Czech Republic (2.7 pp), the Netherlands (10.0 pp) and Malta (10.3 pp).
As seen in Table 1, male citizens from a foreign country aged 20–64 tended to have slightly lower AROPE rates (39.2 %) than their female counterparts (39.8 %). With 17 percentage points higher AROPE rate for women, the gap between women and men with foreign citizenship was the largest in the Netherlands (with 31.1 % for female against 14.1 % for male). While in Greece, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Finland and Denmark, men with foreign citizenship had a higher risk of being poor or socially excluded than women of the same group.
Looking at age groups, the rate of being AROPE for foreign citizens aged 20–64 in the EU was significantly higher (39.5 %) than the corresponding rate for nationals (23.4 %) (see Table 2). The population of non-EU citizens was particularly affected by the high AROPE rate (48.4 %).
Income distribution and monetary poverty
One of the headline targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy is the reduction of poverty by lifting at least 20 million people out of poverty or social exclusion.
While foreign EU citizens have higher median incomes than the nationals, the median incomes of non-EU citizens seem considerably lower. As shown in Table 3, at EU level  the median income of nationals was higher (EUR 17 131) than the corresponding income of the foreign citizens (EUR 15 380) in 2015.
Looking at individual EU Member States, the greatest gaps between median income of the nationals and foreign citizens were found in Luxembourg (EUR 12 084), Sweden (EUR 10 548), Austria (EUR 8 920) and Denmark (EUR 8 231). The smallest gaps (below EUR 900) were observed in Malta, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Croatia. As for the gap in the median income among the foreign citizens’ population, in all EU Member States for which data were available, the foreign EU citizens aged 20–64 had a higher median income than the non-EU citizens.
Figure 3 shows the evolution of median income for the years 2009–15 in the EU by country of citizenship. The median income increased steadily for all population groups in the last few years. Foreign EU citizens record not only higher median income compared to non-EU citizens through 2009–15 but also compared to nationals.
In 2015, 30.3 % of the foreign citizens aged 20–64 in the EU were assessed as being at risk of poverty against 16.0 % of nationals.
The highest poverty rates of foreign citizens were recorded in Greece, Spain, Sweden and Slovenia (44.7 %, 44.6 %, 41.8 % and 41.0 % respectively), while the lowest rates (among the countries with sufficiently reliable data) were observed in the Czech Republic (11.8 %), the Netherlands (15.3 %), Ireland (17.8 %) and Malta (18.0 %). The situation of foreign EU citizens tended to be more favourable than that of non-EU citizens. While the at-risk-of-poverty rate of the nationals varied from 8.0 % to 22.6 %, and that of foreign EU citizens from 9.7 % to 32.2 %, non-EU citizens faced at-risk-of-poverty rates of up to 54.7 %.
As presented in Table 4, the at-risk-of-poverty rate for non-EU citizens (among the countries with sufficiently reliable data) exceeded 40 % in a number of countries, including Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Greece, Luxembourg, Slovenia and France. The lowest rates were registered in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Latvia and the United Kingdom at 10.8 %, 16.2 %, 21.5 % and 22.5 % respectively.
In most countries, the risk of poverty was much higher among children with a migratory background (or migrant children)  than among children of nationals.
Children (aged 0–17) with a migratory background (at least one foreign parent) are exposed to a particularly high risk of poverty. As children usually do not have incomes of their own, they are assumed to share the income of their parents and others in the household. The at-risk-of-poverty rates for children with a migratory background are significantly higher than for children whose parents are both nationals at the EU level and in most of the EU Member States. While the at-risk-of-poverty rate for children of nationals was 18.9 % in 2015, the corresponding rate for children with migratory background stood at 37.4 % (see Figure 4).
Spain (53.3 %), Sweden (52.6 %) and Greece (52.4 %) reported the highest at-risk-of-poverty rates for children with migratory background. On the other hand, the children’s poverty rate was lowest in the Netherlands (16.8 %). It should be noted that in Latvia and the Netherlands children with migratory background had the smallest gaps in at-risk-of-poverty rates compared to children of nationals. While the largest gaps between migrant children and children of nationals were recorded in Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia and Greece.
In-work at-risk-of-poverty rate
In 2015, the in-work at-risk-of-poverty rate of the foreign-born population was 9.8 pp higher than that of the native-born population.
The in-work rate represents the employed population facing the risk of poverty . In 2015 in the EU it stood at 8.4 % for the native-born population aged 20–64 compared with 18.2 % for the foreign-born population.
The greatest differences between foreign- and native-born populations were found in Spain (21.1 pp), Greece (18.0 pp), Italy (16.4 pp) and Cyprus (15.5 pp). However, Ireland, Latvia and Lithuania had differences below 2.0 pp, meaning that both foreign- and native-born populations were exposed to a similar level of in-work rates.
The EU-born migrant population had a significantly lower in-work rate (13.3 %) than the non-EU born migrants (21.6 %) (see Table 5). The highest gaps in 2015 were observed in Greece and Luxembourg. However, in Denmark and in the Netherlands the situation was reversed with the EU-born population having higher in-work at-risk-of-poverty rates than the non-EU-born population and in Austria the rates for both populations were at the same level.
In 2015 the male foreign-born population had a higher in-work at-risk-of-poverty rate (20.2 %) than its female counterpart (15.9 %) (see Table 6). Non-EU-born males were particularly vulnerable to in-work poverty.
The greatest gap between foreign-born men and women in 2015 was observed in Slovenia (14.9 pp). The situation was reversed in six of 24 EU Member States for which data are available (Italy, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia, Portugal and Lithuania), where foreign-born women had higher in-work poverty rates than their male counterparts.
Severe material deprivation rate of non-EU citizens aged 20–64 in the EU in 2015 significantly higher (17.9 %) than that of nationals (7.9 %)
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 instalments 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 colour 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.
Material deprivation plays a key role in defining the poverty and social exclusion goal of the Europe 2020 strategy, which is to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty by 20 million.
As seen in Table 7, foreign citizens tended to face higher rates of severe material deprivation in the EU than the nationals, with the highest rates for foreign citizens in Greece (52.4 %). In Malta, Ireland and the United Kingdom the patterns were inverted, with the nationals having slightly higher rates of severe material deprivation.
Within the population of foreign citizens, severe material deprivation tended to be most widespread among non-EU citizens (17.9 %). Among the countries with sufficiently reliable data, by far the highest rates of severe material deprivation of non-EU citizens were observed in Greece (55.6 %), followed by Portugal (29.8 %), Belgium (29.4 %) and Italy (25.2 %). The lowest were recorded in Sweden (5.3 %), the Czech Republic (6.7 %), Malta (8.3 %) and the United Kingdom (8.8 %).
Looking at the issue from a country of birth perspective, the severe material deprivation rate of the non-EU-born population was relatively stable around 13.0 % since 2009 before it rose sharply in 2012 to 15.5 % and the next year further to 16.9 % where it reached its peak (see Figure 6). It then fell to 15.5 % in 2014 and further to 15.0 % in 2015. Over all these years the severe material deprivation rate of the EU-born migrant population remained constantly lower than the other groups.
Data sources and availability
The main data source for housing statistics is the EU Labour Force Survey (EU-SILC).
For more information on data sources used in the production of migrant integration statistics and the related concepts (definition of migrant groups, age categories, etc.) please consult Migrant integration statistics introduced.
The indicators in this article use the definitions of the migrant integration indicators. The age groups may not be the same as used by Eurostat in the area of social inclusion statistics. For this reason results may differ from other results disseminated by Eurostat.
Towards the direction of active inclusion and in accordance with the migrants’ integration establishment, the European Commission policy context means the fight against poverty and social exclusion of society’s vulnerable groups (European Commission, 2008; European Parliament Resolution, 2009). The active inclusion strategy of the EU also includes ensuring a decent standard of living for migrants outside the labour market, by providing them with adequate social and housing assistance, as is widely stated in EU law.
For detailed information about the EU policies on migrant integration and the context of data collection and statistical results, please refer to Migrant integration statistics introduced.
Further Eurostat information
- News release: Migrant integration in the labour market in 2013
- Indicators of immigrant integration — A pilot study, 2011
- Migrants in Europe — A statistical portrait of the first and second generation, 2011 edition
- Cross cutting topics, see:
- Migrant integration indicators
- Social inclusion (mii_soinc)
- Income distribution and monetary poverty (mii_ip)
- People at risk of poverty and social exclusion (mii_pe)
- Living condition (mii_lc)
- Material deprivation (mii_md)
- Social inclusion (mii_soinc)
Methodology / Metadata
- Income and living conditions — EU SILC (ESMS metadata file — ilc_esms)
Source data for tables, figures and maps (MS Excel)
- Assessment of the implementation of the European Commission recommendation on active inclusion: A study of national policies, 2012
- European website on integration
- Indicators for the Integration of Migrants and their Children — OECD]
- Migrant integration — DG Migration and Home Affairs
- Migrant integration policy index (MIPEX) — ILO
- Settling in: OECD indicators of immigrant integration 2012
- Study on active inclusion of migrants, IZA and ESRI, 2011
- The 2010 Zaragoza declaration
- Using EU indicators of immigrant integration — final report prepared for DG Migration and Home Affairs
- Set of common indicators agreed by the EU Member States in the Zaragoza Declaration in 2010.
- The income reference period is a fixed 12-month period (such as the previous calendar or tax year) for all countries except the United Kingdom for which the income reference period is the current year of the survey and Ireland for which the survey is continuous and income is collected for the 12 months prior to the survey.
- In this analysis all children are divided into two groups: national children and children with migratory background. A child is considered to have a migratory background if at least one of the parents living with him/her is a foreign citizen. A child is considered to be national if both parents living in the household are nationals or, if there is only one parent in the household, that parent is a national.
- The share of persons who are at work and have an equivalised disposable income below the risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income.