Statistics Explained

Disability statistics - poverty and income inequalities

This is the stable Version.

Revision as of 13:41, 7 December 2022 by Rosswen (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)


Data extracted in: November 2022.

Planned article update: December 2023.

Highlights

In 2021, 29.7 % of the EU population with a disability was at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 18.8 % among people with no limitations.

In 2021, 68.2 % of the EU population with a disability would have been at risk of poverty, but after taking account of social transfers (such as benefits, allowances and pensions) the share was 21.1 %.

Number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion, by type of risk, EU, 2021
(millions)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_pees01n)

This article is part of a set of articles on disability and presents various aspects of the income, social and employment situation of people with a disability (activity limitations). Income is a key measure of the economic well-being of individuals. The findings presented in this article are based on the European Union’s (EU) statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC). These are based on respondents’ assessments of their limitations as well as their household’s income, social and employment situation.

In EU-SILC, disability is approximated according to the concept of global activity limitation, which is defined as a ‘limitation in activities people usually do because of health problems for at least the past six months’. This is considered to be an adequate proxy for disability, both by the scientific community and organisations representing people with disabilities. This definition is in also in line with the concept of disability as set out in the European disability strategy 2010–2020 and its successor, the Strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities 2021–2030.

Full article

At risk of poverty or social exclusion

Higher rate of being at risk of poverty or social exclusion among people with a disability

The at risk of poverty or social exclusion indicator measures the percentage of people who are

One of the headline indicators to monitor the Europe 2020 Strategy was the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This indicator has been maintained as a new target for 2030, with an updated definition. The indicators presented in this article are based on the latest definition.

Table 1: Share of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion, by level of activity limitation, 2021
(%)
Source: Eurostat (hlth_dpe010), (hlth_dpe020), (hlth_dm010) and (hlth_dpe040)

In 2021, 29.7 % of the EU population aged 16 years or over with a disability (activity limitation) was at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 18.8 % of those with no disability. Similar results were obtained for the at-risk-of-poverty rate (21.1 % compared with 14.9 %), severe material and social deprivation rate (10.9 % compared with 4.9 %) and the share of individuals aged less than 65 years who lived in households with very low work intensity (18.5 % compared with 6.6 %). The last of these reflects the more difficult access to the labour market faced by people with a disability.

The share of people with a disability (some or severe activity limitation) who were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2021 ranged among the EU Member States from 18.2 % in Czechia and 18.5 % in Finland to 44.2 % in Romania and 45.3 % in Bulgaria. As such, the share was 2.5 times as high in Bulgaria as in Czechia.

In 2021, people with no disability (activity limitation) were less likely to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion than those with a disability in all EU Member States. In absolute terms, the difference between the shares for people with and without a disability was smallest in Greece (0.9 percentage points) and Italy (2.8 percentage points). The widest absolute gap was in Ireland: the share of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion was 39.3 % for people with a disability, 24.7 percentage points higher than the 14.6 % share for people with no disability. The same Member States had the smallest and largest relative differences: for example, in Ireland the share of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion was 2.7 times as high for people with a disability than for people without.

People with a disability were most likely to be at risk of poverty in the Baltic Member States

The at-risk-of-poverty rate among people aged 16 years or over with a disability (activity limitation) was highest in 2021 in the Baltic Member States: 37.5 % in Latvia, 34.0 % in Estonia and 32.6 % in Lithuania. The lowest rates among people with a disability were in Finland (13.5 %), Slovakia (13.0 %; 2020 data) and Czechia (12.7 %). As such, the rate was 3.0 times as high in Latvia as in Czechia.

With regard to the share of people at risk of poverty, the absolute gap between people with or without a disability was also relatively high in 2021 in the Baltic Member States, as well as in Croatia and Ireland, all in the range of 16.2–19.8 percentage points. By contrast, Italy and Greece stood out as they recorded slightly lower at-risk-of-poverty rates for people with a disability than for those without. In relative terms, the largest gap was in Ireland, as people with a disability were 2.7 times as likely to be at risk of poverty than people with no disability.

People with a disability were most likely to experience severe material and social deprivation in Romania and Bulgaria

Among people aged 16 years or over with a disability, severe material and social deprivation was most common in 2021 in Romania (31.5 %) and Bulgaria (28.4 %). These two shares were much higher than in the other EU Member States, as the next highest share was 17.7 % in Hungary. In 17 Member States, less than 10.0 % of people with a disability experienced severe material and social deprivation. The lowest shares were 2.9 % in Czechia and 2.3 % in Finland. As such, the share was 13.7 times as high in Romania as in Finland.

All EU Member States recorded a larger share of people experiencing severe material or social deprivation among people with a disability than among those without. In absolute terms, the largest gap was in Romania, a difference of 13.3 percentage points. In relative terms, people in the Netherlands and Slovenia with a disability were 6.5 and 6.2 times, respectively, as likely to experience severe material or social deprivation as people with no disability. By contrast, in Greece people with a disability were 1.2 times as likely to experience severe material or social deprivation as people with no disability.

People with a disability were most likely to live in a household with very low work intensity in Ireland and Belgium

The final indicator in Table 1 concerns all people aged less than 65 years and shows the share living in a household with very low work intensity. Among people with a disability, this share was highest in 2021 in Ireland (36.7 %) and Belgium (31.5 %) and was also over one fifth in Greece, Germany and France. Portugal (9.2 %) and Romania (5.8 %) were the only EU Member States where this share was below 10.0 %. As such, the share was 6.3 times as high in Ireland as in Romania.

All EU Member States recorded a larger share of people living in a household with very low work intensity among people with a disability than among those without. In absolute terms, the largest gaps were in Ireland (28.8 percentage points) and Belgium (24.2 percentage points), while the smallest gap was in Romania (3.1 percentage points). In relative terms, people in the Czechia with a disability were 6.7 times as likely to live in a household with very low work intensity as people with no disability. By contrast, in Finland people with a disability were 1.8 times as likely to live in a household with very low work intensity as people with no disability.

Impact of social transfers on the at-risk-of-poverty rate

The at-risk-of-poverty rate among people with a disability was lowered greatly by social transfers

In 2021, 68.2 % of the EU population aged 16 years or over with a disability would have been at risk of poverty if social transfers (social benefits, allowances and pensions) had not taken place: this is the at-risk-of-poverty rate before social transfers; 21.1 % of the same population was at risk after taking social transfers into account – see Figure 1.

For people with a disability, the at-risk-of-poverty rate before social transfers in 2021 ranged among the EU Member States from just over three quarters in Greece (76.7 %) to 58.0 % in Luxembourg.

In all EU Member States, for people with a disability, the at-risk-of-poverty rate after social transfers in 2021 was lower than the rate before transfers. The difference in these two rates was generally large, ranging from 58.7 percentage points in Greece (76.7 % before social transfers compared with 18.0 % after social transfers) to 24.6 percentage points in Latvia (62.1 % compared with 37.5 %).

Figure 1: At-risk-of-poverty rate for persons aged 16 years or over with activity limitations, before and after social transfers, 2021
(%)
Source: Eurostat (hlth_dpe030) and (hlth_dpe020)

In-work poverty

People with a disability were more likely to face in-work poverty than people with no disability

Regardless of whether a disability exists or not, being in employment reduces the risk of poverty. In 2021, 8.9 % of the employed persons in the EU aged 18 years or over were at-risk-of-poverty, while the share was 16.2 % for all persons of the same age group. As such, employment does not make the risk of poverty disappear. In-work risk of poverty, in other words the risk of poverty among employed persons, is a key indicator of the labour market integration of people having a disability.

In the EU, 10.7 % of employed persons with a disability were at-risk-of-poverty in 2021, while this rate was 8.7 % among employed persons with no disability – see Figure 2.

In 2021, the highest in-work at-risk-of-poverty rate among people with a disability was observed in Romania (25.5 %), far above the next highest rate among the EU Member States, 14.7 % in Luxembourg. The lowest rates were in Czechia (4.3 %), Bulgaria (3.9 %) and Finland (2.5 %).

In 23 EU Member States, the in-work at-risk-of-poverty rate was higher among people with a disability than among those without. In Finland, Lithuania and Italy, this rate was slightly higher for people with no disability (a difference of no more than 1.0 percentage points), while in Bulgaria the rate was much higher for people with no disability (10.5 %) than among those with a disability (3.9 %).

Figure 2: In-work at-risk-of-poverty rate for people aged 18 years or over, by level of activity limitation, 2021
(%)
Source: Eurostat (hlth_dpe050)

Data sources and availability

EU-SILC is the source of comparative statistics on income distribution and social inclusion in the EU. It provides annual data for the EU Member States as well as most EFTA and enlargement countries on income, poverty, social exclusion and other aspects of living conditions.

The reference population for EU-SILC is limited to private households and their current members residing in the territory of the surveying country at the time of data collection. People living in collective households and institutions are generally excluded from the reference population; this constitutes a limitation for disability statistics. All household members are surveyed, but only those aged 16 years or over are interviewed.

The source is documented in more detail in this background article which provides information on the scope of the data, its legal basis, the methodology employed, as well as related concepts and definitions.

Context

Among the specific objectives of the European strategy on the rights of people with disabilities for 2021–2030 are for people with disabilities to

  • move and live freely within the EU,
  • get the right support to be able to have a good life,
  • live independently,
  • be part of the community together with other people,
  • make their own decisions about their lives,
  • have the same chances to study and work as all other people,
  • have access to health care and other important things and services,
  • be treated in a fair way and with respect.

A person’s income, social and employment situation is directly or indirectly linked to many of these objectives.

The EU is also a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Direct access to

Other articles
Tables
Database
Dedicated section
Publications
Methodology
Visualisations




Disability (hlth_dsb)
Income distribution and poverty among disabled people - EU-SILC survey (hlth_dsb_pe)
Material deprivation among disabled people - EU-SILC survey (hlth_dsb_md)