Migration integration statistics - at risk of poverty and social exclusion
- Data from December 2015. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: January 2017
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 Young people at risk of poverty and social exclusion
- 1.3 Income distribution and monetary poverty
- 1.4 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 2014, 40.1 % of the non-EU-born population in the EU was assessed to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) compared with less than 22.5 % 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 rates for the native-born population were lower than for the foreign-born population (whether born in the EU or not) during the 2007–14 period. However, over time the figure shows significantly higher rates of AROPE for the non-EU born population. More specifically, the rate was 36.7 % in 2005 and 40.1 % in 2014.
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 Belgium (53.3 percentage points (pp)), Sweden and Greece (both 37.6 pp) and Spain (36.7 pp). The gaps were significantly smaller in the Czech Republic (3.1 pp) and Malta (12.9 pp).
As seen in Table 1, male citizens from a foreign country aged 20–64 tended to have slightly lower AROPE rates (38.9 %) than their female counterparts (42.6 %). The gap between women and men with foreign citizenship was widest in Germany, with 33.5 % for female against 23.8 % for male. In the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland, men with foreign citizenship had a higher risk of being poor or socially excluded than women with foreign citizenship.
Looking at age groups, the rate of being AROPE for foreign citizens aged 20–64 in the EU was significantly higher (40.8 %) than the corresponding rate for nationals (24.1 %) (see Table 2). The population of non-EU citizens was particularly affected by the high AROPE rate (49.3 %).
In 2013, 43.8 % of young people aged 16–29 in the EU-28 who were foreign-born were at risk of poverty and social exclusion compared with 28.1 % of young people who were native-born. The rate of being AROPE for the young non-EU born population was higher (49.3 %) than for the foreign EU-born counterparts (31.8 %).
At country level, the difference between native- and foreign-born was very high in some EU Member States, namely Belgium, Austria, Greece, Slovenia and Finland. The difference in Belgium was the largest: 16.8 % of the young native-born population in Belgium faced the risk of being poor or socially excluded, compared with 52.9 % of the young foreign-born population. In Denmark the rates were identical for both the native- and foreign-born population (38.0 %). There was no EU Member State where the AROPE rates were higher for the young foreign-born population.
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 4, at EU level  the median income of nationals was higher (EUR 16 716) than the corresponding income of the foreign citizens (EUR 14 580) in 2014.
Looking at individual EU Member States, the greatest gaps between median income of the nationals and foreign citizens were found in Luxembourg (EUR 11 136), Sweden (EUR 9 875), Austria (EUR 9 041) and Belgium (EUR 8 567). In the Czech Republic, the situation was reversed — foreign citizens had a marginally higher median income than nationals. 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 population of non-EU citizens, with the Czech Republic again being the only exception.
Figure 3 shows the evolution of median income for the years 2005–14 in the EU by country of citizenship. The median income increased steadily for nationals reaching EUR 16 716 in 2014. Looking at the median income of the foreign citizens, foreign EU citizens tended to have a higher median income than non-EU citizens through 2005–14.
In 2014, 31.5 % of the foreign citizens aged 20–64 in the EU were assessed as being at risk of poverty against 15.8 % of nationals.
Foreign citizens had the highest poverty rates in Spain, Greece and Slovenia (47.6 %, 47.0 % and 42.9 % respectively), while the lowest rates were observed in the Czech Republic (11.2 %) and Ireland (17.7 %). 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 8.8 % to 23.1 %, and that of foreign EU citizens from 7.6 % to 36.8 %, non-EU citizens faced at-risk-of-poverty rates of up to 58.7 %.
As presented in Table 5, the at-risk-of-poverty rate for non-EU citizens exceeded 40 % in a number of countries, including Belgium, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Slovenia and France. The lowest rates were registered in the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Latvia at 7.1 %, 21.4 % and 23.0 % respectively.
In most countries, the risk of poverty was much higher among children with a migratory background (or migrant children)  than among 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 19.0 % in 2014, the corresponding rate for children with migratory background stood at 36.4 % (see Figure 4).
Spain (59.3 %), Lithuania (59.0 %), Greece and Slovenia (both 56.9 %) 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 (13.4 %). It should be noted that in Ireland and the Netherlands children of nationals had similar at-risk-of-poverty rates as children with migratory background. The largest gaps between migrant children and children of nationals were recorded in Slovenia, Sweden, Greece, Lithuania and Spain.
In-work at-risk-of-poverty rate
In 2014, the in-work at-risk-of-poverty rate of the foreign-born population was 9.3 pp higher than that of the native-born population.
The in-work rate represents the employed population facing the risk of poverty . In the EU in 2014 it stood at 8.4 % for the native-born population aged 20–64 which was lower than for the foreign-born population (17.8 %) — Latvia, Hungary and Poland being the only exceptions.
The greatest differences were found in Spain (22.6 pp), Cyprus (17.5 pp), Greece (16.4 pp) and Italy (16.0 pp). However, Germany, Portugal and Slovakia 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 (except reporting country) population had a significantly lower in-work rate (13.4 %) than the non-EU born population (20.6 %) (see Table 6). The highest gaps in 2014 were observed in Greece and Luxembourg. However, in Italy and Denmark the situation was reversed with the EU-born population having higher in-work at-risk-of-poverty rates than the non-EU-born population.
In 2014 the male foreign-born population had a higher in-work rate (18.7 %) than its female counterpart (16.5 %) (see Table 7). Non-EU-born males were particularly vulnerable.
The greatest gap between foreign-born men and women in 2014 was observed in Slovenia (21.3 % vs 7.9 %). The situation was reversed in 11 of 28 EU Member States (Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Belgium, Estonia and Portugal), where foreign-born women had higher in-work rates than their male counterparts. Estonia and Portugal presented the greatest gap between men and women (14.4 % vs 19.9 % and 9.0 % vs 14.9 % respectively).
Severe material deprivation rate of non-EU citizens aged 20–64 in the EU in 2014 significantly higher (18.9 %) than that of nationals (8.8 %)
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 8, foreign citizens tended to face higher rates of severe material deprivation (13.8 %) in the EU than the nationals (8.8 %), with the highest rates for foreign citizens in Greece and Portugal (53.1 % and 30.7 % respectively). However, in Malta, Germany and Ireland the patterns were inverted, with the nationals having higher rates of severe material deprivation. In the United Kingdom, Cyprus and Luxembourg severe material deprivation rates of nationals and foreign citizens were similar.
Within the population of foreign citizens, severe material deprivation tended to be most widespread among non-EU citizens (18.9 %). The highest rates of severe material deprivation of non-EU citizens were observed in Greece (55.2 %), Belgium (34.5 %), Portugal (33.3 %) and Italy (28.0 %), while the lowest were recorded in Luxembourg (1.6 %), Sweden (4.9 %), Germany (7.4 %) and the Czech Republic (8.8 %).
Looking at the issue from a country of birth perspective, the severe material deprivation rate of the non-EU-born population decreased from 2005 to 2008, but started to increase in 2009, reaching 15.5 % in 2012 (see Figure 6). It then fell in 2013 (to 12.1 %) before reaching 15.5 % again in 2014. Over all these years the severe material deprivation rate of the EU-born population remained constantly lower than the other groups, and even decreased in 2013 (along with the other groups).
18.2 % of the young non-EU-born population faced severe material deprivation
The severe material deprivation rate of the young foreign-born population was higher than that of the young native-born population in the EU (15.6 % vs 10.8 %, see Table 9). Additionally, the rates of the young non-EU-born population were higher (18.2 %) than those of the EU-born population (9.9 %). Young people who were not born in the EU suffered from particularly high severe material deprivation in Greece (58.8 %), Belgium (27.4 %) and Cyprus (26.6 %).
At country level (among 20 EU Member States for which reliable data were available), Greece (32.4 pp) and Belgium (15.6 pp) presented the highest gaps in severe material deprivation rates between the native- and foreign-born young population, while the smallest gaps were found in Luxembourg (0.9 pp), Ireland (4.3 pp), and the Czech Republic (4.4 pp). In Malta and the United Kingdom the material deprivation rate of the native-born young people was even higher than that of their foreign-born peers (by 2.5 pp and 1.9 pp respectively).
Data sources and availability
The indicators presented in this article are based on the Council conclusions on integration of 2010, the subsequent study ‘Indicators of immigrant integration — A pilot study’ (2011) and the report ’Using EU indicators of immigrant integration’ (2013).
For the purpose of this article and the topical articles the following terms are being used to describe various migrant groups.
For the population by country of birth:
- Native-born: the population born in the reporting country;
- Foreign-born: the population born outside the reporting country;
- EU-born: the population born in the EU, except the reporting country; and
- Non-EU-born: the population born outside the EU.
For the population by citizenship:
- Nationals: the citizens of the reporting country;
- Foreign citizens: the non-citizens of the reporting country;
- EU citizens: the citizens of the EU Member States, except the reporting country; and
- Non-EU citizens: the citizens of non-EU Member States.
The EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey is the main source for the compilation of statistics on income, social inclusion and living conditions. It provides comparable micro-data on income, poverty, social exclusion, housing, labour, education and health. EU-SILC is implemented in the EU Member States, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. It provides two types of annual data: cross-sectional data pertaining to a given time or a certain time period with variables on income, poverty, social exclusion and other living conditions and longitudinal data pertaining to individual-level changes over time, observed periodically over a four-year period.
The article focuses on comparisons between national and migrant population with the relevant breakdowns by age and gender. The indicators are calculated for two broad groups of the migrant population. The first one is the population by country of birth (COB) and the second one is the population by country of citizenship (COC). Notably, the breakdowns for EU include EU-27 instead of EU-28 aggregates when the latter were not yet available in Eurobase at the time of data extraction. In addition, four age groups are mainly discussed :
- 15–29: this group represents the population of young migrants and is targeted by the EU Youth Strategy.
- 20–64: this group has been selected because it is relevant to the first Europe 2020 target (employment of 75 % of this population by 2020).
- 25–54: this is considered as the most appropriate group for the analysis of the situation of migrants of working age. It minimises the effect of migration related to non-economic reasons (e.g. study or retirement) and forms a more homogenous group, large enough to produce reliable results.
- 55–64: this age group focuses on the older migrants.
The indicators in this article use the definitions of the migrant integration indicators. The above age groups may not be 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.
By means of the open method of coordination, EU Member States are encouraged to design and implement an integrated comprehensive strategy for the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market by combining (i) adequate income support, (ii) inclusive labour markets, and (iii) access to quality (social) services.
The communication draws from European Union (EU) level developments in legal migration and the integration of non-EU nationals. It is a first step in the establishment of a coherent framework for integration, proposing concrete measures at EU and national level for putting the Common Basic Principles into practice ((COM (2005) 389)). The concrete measures proposed in the communication aim to provide guidance for national and EU integration policies.
Furthermore, active employment policies can be a major tool for governments to promote inclusion and labour market interventions are common in all EU Member States, though the degree of intervention varies with the extent of reliance on market processes. More specifically, in 2006 and 2008 the Directive 0043/2000 and Employment Directive 0078/2000 were respectively adopted by the MS Both Directives have been transposed into national laws in all 28 Member States and the conformity of all those laws with the Directives has been checked by the Commission. The review of national experiences reveals that there are still challenges to their implementation and application.
In 2008 the European Commission recommended that EU Member States establish an integrated and comprehensive strategy for the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market ((2008/867/EC)). The strategy is to be made up of three coordinated strands based on which active inclusion policies are to be implemented: sufficient income support, inclusive labour markets and access to quality services.
In accordance, the European Platform set up by the Commission ((COM (2010) 758)) offered a framework for action to all stakeholders involved at national and regional level within Europe. The Platform is to bring together all stakeholders involved in a partnership to tackle poverty. Such stakeholders may be EU Member States, EU institutions, or national, regional and local authorities, as well as the social partners, NGOs and persons who are themselves in a situation of poverty. Their partnership is aimed at developing common approaches in all areas relating to social inclusion.
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. 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.
- Additional age groups are used alternatively when no data are available for the main groups.