Migration integration statistics - at risk of poverty and social exclusion


Data from January 2018. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: January 2019

Migrants often play an important role in the labour markets and economies of the countries in which they settle. This article presents European Union (EU) statistics on the risk of poverty and/or social exclusion among working-age migrant communities in the EU. The information presented generally refers to migrants aged 20-64 according to their country of citizenship; note that all of the information presented concerns this age group unless otherwise specified. Note also that Eurostat collects information on migrants according to their country of birth — as opposed to their citizenship — and these data may be found on Eurostat’s website.

The fight against poverty and social inclusion are considered as important elements for the well-being of individuals and more generally society at large. Indeed, the Europe 2020 strategy — which provides the EU’s agenda for growth and jobs — laid down a target to reduce by at least 20 million the number of people suffering from poverty or social exclusion. This article explores an existing set of Zaragoza indicators [1], together with additional information; it presents information for the risk of poverty and social exclusion, median incomes, material deprivation and the share of people living in households with very low work intensity; it forms part of an online publication on migrant integration statistics.

It should be noted that some of the data analysed in this article are affected by low reliability due to small sample size or high non-response rates; these values are noted in the commentary that follows and they are also identified in the tables and figures (see specific footnotes).

Figure 1: People aged 20-64 at risk of poverty or social exclusion, by citizenship, EU-28, 2010-2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_peps05)
Table 1: People aged 20-64 at risk of poverty or social exclusion, by citizenship and by sex, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_peps05)
Figure 2: People aged 20-64 at risk of poverty or social exclusion, by citizenship, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_peps05)
Table 2: People at risk of poverty or social exclusion, by citizenship and by age, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_peps05)
Figure 3: Median equivalised income of the population aged 20-64, by citizenship, EU-28, 2010-2016
(EUR)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_di15)
Table 3: Median equivalised income of the population aged 20-64, by citizenship and by sex, 2016
(EUR)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_di15)
Figure 4: Median equivalised income of the population aged 20-64, by citizenship, 2016
(EUR)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_di15)
Table 4: Median equivalised income, by citizenship and by age, 2016
(EUR)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_di15)
Table 5: People aged 20-64 at risk of poverty, by citizenship and by sex, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_iw15)
Table 6: People at risk of poverty, by citizenship and by age, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_li31)
Figure 5: Children aged 0-17 at risk of poverty, by citizenship of their parents, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_li33)
Table 7: People aged 20-64 at risk of in-work poverty, by citizenship and by sex, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_iw15)
Figure 6: People aged 20-64 at risk of in-work poverty, by citizenship, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_iw15)
Table 8: People at risk of in-work poverty, by citizenship and by age, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_iw16)
Figure 7: Severe material deprivation rate among people aged 20-64, by citizenship, EU-28, 2010-2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mddd15)
Table 9: Severe material deprivation rate among people aged 20-64, by citizenship and by sex, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mddd15)
Figure 8: Severe material deprivation rate among people aged 20-64, by citizenship, 2016
(EUR)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mddd15)
Table 10: Severe material deprivation rate, by citizenship and by age, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mddd15)
Figure 9: People aged 18-59 living in households with very low work intensity, by citizenship, EU-28, 2010-2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_lvhl15)
Figure 10: People aged 18-59 living in households with very low work intensity, by citizenship, 2016
(EUR)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_lvhl15)
Table 11: People aged 18-59 living in households with very low work intensity, by citizenship and by sex, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_lvhl15)
Table 12: People living in households with very low work intensity, by citizenship and by age, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_lvhl15)

Main statistical findings

Key findings

  • Almost 4 out of 10 foreign citizens in the EU-28 faced the risk of being in poverty or socially excluded.
  • The higher risk of poverty or social exclusion among foreign citizens in the EU-28 may be largely attributed to the situation of non-EU citizens.
  • The median income of foreign EU citizens living in another EU Member State was higher than that recorded for EU nationals; whereas the median income of non-EU citizens was considerably lower.
  • The risk of monetary poverty in the EU-28 was approximately twice as high for foreign citizens as it was for nationals, and was particularly concentrated among non-EU citizens.
  • Being in work did not necessarily protect foreign citizens in the EU-28 against poverty: in 2016, 20 % of working foreign citizens suffered from in-work poverty compared with 9 % of working nationals.
  • Severe material deprivation in the EU-28 was more than twice as high among non-EU citizens as it was among foreign EU citizens or nationals.
  • Across the EU-28, a lower proportion of foreign EU citizens lived in households with very low work intensity than was observed for nationals.

People at risk of poverty or social exclusion

In 2016, there were 118 million people at risk of poverty or social exclusion across the whole of the EU-28; this equated to 23.5 % of the population. A majority of these people at risk of poverty or social exclusion, some 72.5 million, were of working-age (20-64 years).

There are three statuses that are combined in order to compute the share of the population that are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, namely: persons who are at risk of poverty, those facing material deprivation, and those living in households with very low work intensity. The Europe 2020 headline indicator is based on the share of the population affected by at least one of these three different situations.

Figure 1 confirms that the risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU-28 was lower among nationals than it was among migrants. In 2016, almost one quarter (22.9 %) of all nationals faced such a risk, while the share for foreign EU citizens was somewhat higher at just over a quarter (27.9 %; note this figure is of low reliability). However, by far the highest risk was experienced by migrants who were non-EU citizens, as almost half (48.6 %) of this subpopulation were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2016.

During the period 2010-2016, the share of the EU-28 population that was at risk of poverty or social exclusion remained relatively stable. For nationals, it started at a relatively low level of 22.4 % in 2010, reached an intermediate peak of 24.2 % in 2012 and 2013, before falling for three consecutive years. For foreign EU citizens, the risk of poverty or social exclusion had a somewhat larger variation, with a low of 27.4 % in 2010 and a peak of 30.5 % in 2014, after which there were two consecutive falls (all of this time series is of low reliability). For non-EU citizens, a low of 46.0 % was recorded in 2012, after which there was a rebound with the share increasing to 49.1 % in 2014, followed by a modest decline in 2015 and then almost no change in 2016.

An analysis across the EU Member States between nationals and foreign citizens reveals that a higher share of foreign citizens were generally at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2016; the only exceptions among the 26 Member States for which data are available (no information for Romania or Slovakia) were Hungary and Poland (both low reliability), where a higher proportion of nationals were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. At the other end of the range, foreign citizens living in Sweden were 3.4 times as likely as nationals to face the risk of poverty or social exclusion, while the risk of poverty or social exclusion was 2.9 times as high for foreign citizens in Austria, 2.7 times as high in Slovenia and 2.5 times as high in France.

In 2016, a comparison between the sexes for the EU-28 reveals that the share of foreign citizens that were at risk of poverty or social exclusion was slightly higher among women (39.8 %) than among men (38.6 %). This gender gap was relatively small across most of the EU Member States. Nevertheless, the risk of poverty or social exclusion reached 48.3 % for female foreign citizens living in Bulgaria, compared with 30.9 % for men (both values are of low reliability), while the gender gap in Ireland was also quite large, as the risk of poverty or social exclusion was 30.0 % for female foreign citizens compared with 19.1 % for men; none of the remaining Member States recorded a double-digit gender gap with higher rates for women. By contrast, the share of male foreign citizens at risk of poverty or social exclusion and living in Denmark was 10.3 percentage points higher than the corresponding ratio for women; this was the only double-digit gender gap with higher rates for men.

A more detailed analysis of the results for 2016 for the two subpopulations of foreign citizens reveals that across the EU-28 a higher proportion of women (rather than men) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion when considering foreign EU citizens, whereas the opposite was true among non-EU citizens, where a higher proportion of men (rather than women) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

In 2016, the risk of poverty or social exclusion was 1.7 times as high for non-EU citizens living in the EU-28 as it was for foreign EU citizens living in the EU-28 (48.6 % compared with 27.9 %; low reliability for the latter). This pattern was repeated in the vast majority of the 21 EU Member States for which data are available (see Table 1 for coverage), as Latvia (low reliability) and the Czech Republic were the only exceptions recording a lower risk of poverty or social exclusion for non-EU citizens. By contrast, more than six tenths (60.6 %) of non-EU citizens living in Belgium were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, which was 2.5 times as high as the corresponding share recorded for foreign EU citizens (24.2 %). In Malta, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, the risk of poverty or social exclusion experienced by non-EU citizens was also at least twice as high as that experienced by foreign EU citizens.

In 2016, the share of the population at risk of poverty or social exclusion was higher for nationals than it was for foreign EU citizens living in Ireland, Malta, the United Kingdom and Hungary (low reliability).

Table 2 provides similar information, but with an analysis by age. Note that there is no direct link between the first of the age classes (20-64 years) and the other two age categories that are presented: the first of these covers people in the core working ages of 25-54 and is a subset of the working-age population, whereas the elderly subpopulation, as covered by people aged 55 years and more, is an open-ended age class and therefore includes a relatively high proportion of pensioners.

In 2016, there was no clear pattern apparent as to the impact of age on the risk of poverty or social exclusion. Among the 24 EU Member States for which data are available (see Table 2 for coverage) for all three age categories, there were 11 where the risk of poverty or social exclusion among migrants (foreign citizens) was highest for people aged 55 and over, whereas there were eight where the risk of poverty or social exclusion among migrants was highest for those aged 20-64 years, and there were five where the highest risk of poverty or social exclusion was recorded for foreign citizens aged 25-54 years.

Income distribution and monetary poverty

Median income

The information presented in this section concerns median equivalised incomes. In 2016, the median income of EU-28 nationals was EUR 17 554 (see Figure 3). This could be contrasted with a median income for foreign EU citizens of EUR 19 232 (low reliability), while that for non-EU citizens was EUR 13 307.

A closer analysis of developments during the period 2010-2016 reveals that the gap in income levels between foreign EU citizens (all of this time series is of low reliability) and nationals grew each year. In 2010, there had been almost no difference (EUR 76) in median levels of income between these two groups, however, by 2016 the gap had increased to EUR 1 678 in favour of foreign EU citizens.

In the aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis, median incomes of foreign EU citizens rose, on average, by 3.0 % per annum (low reliability) during the period 2010-2016, while the median income of non-EU citizens rose by 2.5 % per annum (low reliability) and that for nationals by 1.6 % per annum.

Table 3 presents some more detailed information by EU Member State: it shows that the median income of nationals was higher than the median income of foreign citizens in most Member States. In 2016, the biggest gaps in favour of nationals were recorded in Sweden (EUR 11 830), Luxembourg (EUR 11 022) and Austria (EUR 9 767). By contrast, the median income of foreign citizens living in Malta, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland (low reliability) and Hungary (low reliability) was higher than the median income of nationals.

A closer analysis of the situation for migrant populations confirms that median income levels for foreign EU citizens were systematically higher than those for non-EU citizens. In absolute terms, this gap was widest in Belgium, where the median income for foreign EU citizens was EUR 9 241 higher than the median income for non-EU citizens; this was also the biggest difference in relative terms, as the median income of foreign EU citizens living in Belgium was 1.7 times as high as the median income of non-EU citizens. In Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands, the median income of foreign EU citizens was also at least 50 % higher than the median income of non-EU citizens. At the other end of the range, the smallest differences were recorded in Latvia (low reliability), the Czech Republic and Italy, where the median income of foreign EU citizens was 5-6 % higher than that recorded for non-EU citizens.

Based on a comparison between median income levels for nationals and foreign EU citizens in 2016, there were five EU Member States (see Figure 4 for coverage) where foreign EU citizens recorded higher levels of income: the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Hungary (low reliability), Portugal and Malta.

Table 4 provides an analysis of median income by age. Across the EU-28, the income of nationals aged 25-54 was 8.0 % higher than that recorded for nationals aged 55 and over. This gap was generally wider for migrants, where those aged 55 and over tended to receive a lower income than their counterparts of prime working age (low reliability). Among foreign EU citizens, the median income of people aged 25-54 was 13.2 % higher than that recorded for people aged 55 and over (low reliability), while a similar comparison for non-EU citizens reveals that the median income of people aged 25-54 was 13.5 % higher than that recorded for people aged 55 and over (also low reliability).

At-risk-of-poverty rate

The at risk of poverty rate is defined as the proportion of people that have an equivalised disposable income (after social transfers) below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income (after social transfers). It should be noted that this indicator does not measure absolute poverty: rather, it shows the share of people who have low incomes in comparison with other residents.

In 2016, almost one sixth (15.7 %) of nationals living in the EU-28 were at risk of poverty. At 30.6 %, the risk of poverty was approximately twice as high for migrants living in the EU-28. A closer analysis reveals that the risk of poverty was particularly concentrated among non-EU citizens (38.3 %) when compared with the risk for foreign EU citizens (21.2 %; low reliability). Across the EU-28 and irrespective of citizenship, a slightly higher share of women (rather than men) was found to be at risk of poverty.

Based on a comparison for all foreign citizens (in other words, foreign EU citizens and non-EU citizens combined), women were generally more likely to face the risk of poverty than men. In 2016, this pattern was observed across the vast majority (17 out of 23) of the EU Member States for which data are available (see Table 5 for coverage); the only exceptions where female migrants had a lower risk of poverty than male migrants were the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, Croatia (low reliability) and Greece. By contrast, female migrants living in Bulgaria were 6.6 times as likely to be at risk of poverty as their male counterparts (low reliability).

Looking in more detail at the situation in each of the EU Member States, the share of foreign citizens who were at risk of poverty was usually higher than the share of nationals facing a similar risk. In 2016, Hungary (low reliability) and Bulgaria were the only exceptions to this rule, each recording a much lower share of foreign citizens at risk of poverty. By contrast, in Austria, foreign citizens were four times as likely as nationals to be at risk of poverty, while there were also relatively large differences recorded in Sweden (where foreign citizens were 3.8 times as likely to face the risk of poverty) and Slovenia (3.3 times as likely).

In 2016, the risk of poverty across the EU-28 was lower (14.7 %) among nationals aged 55 and over than it was (15.0 %) for nationals of prime working age (25-54 years). This pattern was reversed for foreign citizens, where those aged 55 and over faced a higher risk of poverty (33.0 %; low reliability) compared with people of prime working age (29.7 %).

Child poverty

While the vast majority of this article is based on information for people aged 20-64, this next section covers child poverty, as defined in relation to people aged 0-17. In most of the EU Member States, the risk of poverty was higher among children than it was among people of working-age (20-64 years). The analysis that follows compares child poverty rates between children whose parents are nationals and children who have at least one parent who is a foreign citizen; no distinction is made between parents who are citizens of other EU Member States and parents who are non-EU citizens.

Across the EU-28, almost one in five (18.8 %) children whose parents were nationals were at risk of poverty in 2016, the share for children who had at least one parent who was a foreign citizen was almost twice as high, at 35.8 %. This pattern was repeated in all but four of the EU Member States for which data are available (see Figure 5 for coverage); the exceptions were Latvia, Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary (data for the latter three are all of low reliability). By contrast, in Sweden children with at least one parent who was a foreign citizen were six times as likely to be at risk of poverty as children whose parents were nationals; there were also relatively large differences recorded in Slovenia (4.7 times as likely), Denmark (3.9 times), Austria and Finland (both 3.5 times).

The highest risk of child poverty for children with at least one parent who was a foreign citizen was recorded in Sweden (58.1 %), while Spain (57.5 %) and Lithuania (55.8 %; low reliability) also reported that more than half of this subpopulation of children were at risk of poverty in 2016. The lowest risks of poverty for children with at least one parent who was a foreign citizen were recorded in Bulgaria and Hungary, with shares of 9.8 % and 9.6 % (both low reliability); they were the only EU Member States to record single-digit shares for this subpopulation.

In-work at-risk-of-poverty rate

One area that has drawn particular attention among policymakers in recent years is that of in-work poverty. Indeed, the stagnation of real wage growth and an increase in flexible labour markets has (in some cases) resulted in situations whereby being in work does not necessarily protect an individual against the risks of poverty.

In 2016, 8.7 % of EU-28 nationals were at risk of in-work poverty, while the share among migrants was considerably higher, at 20.1 %. There was a considerable gap between migrant subpopulations, as the risk of in-work poverty affected 14.1 % of foreign EU citizens (low reliability) compared with 26.9 % for non-EU citizens (also low reliability).

While a slightly higher share of male (compared with female) nationals and non-EU citizens faced the risk of in-work poverty, the opposite was true among foreign EU citizens. The gender gap for the EU-28 in 2016 — with a higher risk of in-work poverty for men — was 1.2 percentage points for nationals and 0.6 points for non-EU citizens (low reliability). By contrast, among foreign EU citizens the risk of in-work poverty was 3.1 percentage points higher for women than it was for men (also low reliability).

There were six EU Member States where the share of the national population at risk of in-work poverty was in double-digits: Romania (18.4 %), Greece (12.9 %), Bulgaria (11.6 %), Poland (10.8 %), Spain and Portugal (both 10.5 %). By contrast, in a majority (19 out of the 26) of the Member States for which data are available (no information for Romania or Slovakia) the risk of in-work poverty among foreign citizens reached double-digits, with 11 of these recording shares that were above 20 %. The highest risk of in-work poverty among foreign citizens was recorded in Spain (37.0 %), while Italy, Slovenia and Greece all recorded shares within the range of 28-30 %. Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria were the only Member States where the risk of in-work poverty was higher for nationals than it was for foreign citizens (low reliability for all three countries). By contrast, the risk of in-work poverty was at least four times as high for foreign citizens as it was for nationals in Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands and Cyprus, reaching 5.9 times as high in Slovenia.

Figure 6 confirms that in 2016 it was commonplace to find the lowest risk of in-work poverty among nationals. Across the EU Member States (no information for Romania or Slovakia), there were seven exceptions to this pattern: in Malta, Portugal and the United Kingdom, the risk of in-work poverty was higher among nationals than it was among foreign EU citizens; in Bulgaria and Latvia (both low reliability), the risk of in-work poverty was higher among nationals than it was among non-EU citizens; in Croatia and Hungary, the risk of in-work poverty was higher among nationals than it was among foreign citizens (a more detailed analysis by type of foreign citizen is not available).

A comparison between foreign EU citizens and non-EU citizens reveals that the latter generally faced a much higher risk of in-work poverty. In 2016, the only exceptions — with a higher risk of poverty for foreign EU citizens — were Austria and Finland. By contrast, non-EU citizens living in Belgium were 3.6 times as likely to be at risk of in-work poverty as foreign EU citizens; in a similar vein, non-EU citizens living in the Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal and Luxembourg were 2.8-3.0 times as likely to face the risk of in-work poverty as foreign EU citizens (see Figure 6).

In 2016, the risk of in-work poverty among nationals in the EU-28 was 8.7 %; this figure was slightly lower for those of core working age (8.6 %) and for people aged 55 and over (8.2 %). A similar analysis for foreign citizens living in the EU-28 reveals that in 2016 just over one fifth (20.1 %) of those aged 20-64 faced the risk of in-work poverty. This share could be compared with the corresponding proportions of foreign citizens who were at risk of poverty among the core working age group (20.6 %) and with persons aged 55 and over (17.2 %; low reliability). These differences by age were particularly apparent in the Netherlands and Sweden where the risk of in-work poverty was 3.1 times and 2.6 times as high for migrants of core working age as it was for migrants aged 55 and over (both low reliability). By contrast, there were nine EU Member States (see Table 8 for coverage) where the risk of in-work poverty was higher for the elderly subpopulation. This was particularly true in Ireland, where the risk of in-work poverty among migrants aged 55 and over was 1.9 times as high as for migrants aged 25-54; in Malta (low reliability) and Austria the risk of in-work poverty among elderly migrants was 1.6 times as high as for the migrant population of core working age.

Material deprivation

Material deprivation is the second of the three different statuses that together contribute to define the group of people who are considered to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion (one of the key policy targets for the Europe 2020 strategy). The material deprivation rate is defined as the share of the population unable to afford at least three out of nine specified items, while the share of persons who are unable to afford at least four items are considered to be severely materially deprived (see Data sources and availability for a list of the specific items). In contrast to the risk of poverty — which details monetary poverty in relative terms — the information presented in this section concerns non-monetary components and provides an analysis of poverty in absolute terms, detailing the share of the population who are unable to access/afford a selection of goods and services that are considered to be necessary or desirable to have an acceptable standard of living. It is important to note that some people may be considered, monetarily speaking, as relatively poor although they do not suffer material deprivation, whereas conversely others who are not classified as monetarily poor may suffer material deprivation.

Figure 7 shows the development of the severe material deprivation rate in the EU-28 by citizenship. There is a clear division between the levels of material deprivation that are experienced by migrants who are non-EU citizens on the one hand and nationals and foreign EU citizens on the other. Across the EU-28, the severe material deprivation rate for foreign EU citizens was 7.0 % in 2016 (low reliability), some 0.4 percentage points lower than the rate recorded for nationals (7.4 %). By contrast, the severe material deprivation rate for non-EU citizens was more than twice as high, at 15.5 %.

An analysis over time shows that severe material deprivation rates tended to rise in the aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis, peaking in either 2012 or 2013, before they started to decline. The reduction in the EU-28 severe material deprivation rate for nationals started a year earlier than for foreign EU citizens (all of this time series is of low reliability) and was at a faster pace, such that the difference between these two rates was at its lowest level by 2016. The EU-28 severe material deprivation rate for non-EU citizens, which was at a much higher level, fell in both absolute and relative terms at a faster pace than for either of the other two subpopulations.

In 2016, the highest proportion of foreign citizens suffering severe material deprivation was recorded in Greece, with more than half (50.3 %) of all foreign citizens affected. This rate was considerably higher than in any of the other EU Member States, as the next highest shares were recorded in Italy (26.0 %) and Portugal (23.9 %). At the other end of the range, the lowest severe material deprivation rates for foreign citizens were recorded in Hungary (0.0 %; low reliability), Poland (1.0 %; low reliability) and Luxembourg (2.4 %), while Sweden, the United Kingdom and Germany were the only other Member States to record rates for this subpopulation that were below 5.0 %.

As noted above, there was little difference between EU-28 severe material deprivation rates for nationals (7.4 %) and foreign EU citizens (7.0 %; low reliability) in 2016. An analysis for 22 of the EU Member States (see Table 9 for coverage) reveals that in 14 of these it was more common for foreign EU citizens to experience severe material deprivation than nationals, while the reverse was true in seven Member States and there was no difference in the Czech Republic. Foreign EU citizens living in Spain were 3.2 times as likely as nationals to suffer severe material deprivation, while in Austria, Italy and Estonia (low reliability) they were more than twice as likely to suffer severe material deprivation. By contrast, a negligible number (the value is of low reliability) of the foreign EU citizens living in Hungary suffered severe material deprivation (compared with 16.3 % of nationals), while the severe material deprivation rate for nationals was five times as high as that for foreign EU citizens in Malta and 2.3 times as high in Denmark; among the larger EU Member States, both Germany and the United Kingdom recorded higher severe material deprivation rates for nationals than for foreign EU citizens.

In 2016, severe material deprivation in the EU-28 was more widespread among non-EU citizens (15.5 %) than it was among foreign EU citizens (7.0 %; low reliability). There were only 3 out of the 21 EU Member States for which data are available (see Figure 8 for coverage) where a higher proportion of foreign EU citizens suffered from severe material deprivation: Latvia (low reliability), Cyprus and Spain. Otherwise, it was relatively common to find more than twice as high a share of non-EU citizens as foreign EU citizens suffering from severe material deprivation. In Malta and Denmark, non-EU citizens were 16 and 12 times as likely to suffer severe material deprivation as foreign EU citizens.

Table 10 confirms that older people are less likely to suffer from severe material deprivation. In 2016, some 6.4 % of nationals aged 55 and over in the EU-28 were affected by severe material deprivation, compared with an average of 7.4 % for the working-age population (20-64 years). The gap for non-EU citizens was identical, insofar as 14.5 % (low reliability) of those aged 55 and over suffered severe material deprivation, while the rate for the working-age population was a single percentage point higher, at 15.5 %. Among foreign EU citizens the gap was wider, as 4.1 % (low reliability) of those aged 55 and over suffered severe material deprivation, which was 2.9 percentage points lower than the average for those of working-age (7.0 %; also low reliability).

People living in households with very low work intensity

The final status that contributes towards defining people considered to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion is the share of people living in households with very low work intensity; note that the age coverage of this indicator differs from that used in the remainder of the article. People living in households with very low work intensity are defined as those (aged 18-59 years) living in households where the adults worked less than 20 % of their total work potential during the past year.

In 2016, slightly more than one tenth (10.8 %) of all working-age nationals in the EU-28 were living in households with very low work intensity; this figure was higher than the corresponding share for foreign EU citizens, which stood at 8.6 % (low reliability). By contrast, the highest share of people living in households with very low work intensity was recorded among non-EU citizens, at 16.9 % (low reliability).

Table 11 shows that in 2016 a higher proportion of women (than men) aged 18-59 lived in households with very low work intensity. This pattern was observed across the EU-28 for nationals, foreign EU citizens and for non-EU citizens (low reliability for the latter two subpopulations). It is interesting to note the relatively low share (6.9 %; low reliability) of male foreign EU citizens who were living in EU-28 households with very low work intensity, some 3.2 percentage points fewer than the share recorded among nationals, whereas the figures for women were much closer (10.2 % for foreign EU citizens (low reliability) compared with 11.5 % among nationals).

In 2016, Greece recorded the highest share of foreign EU citizens living in households with very low work intensity, at 23.7 %; it was followed by Denmark (18.4 %), Finland (17.8 %) and Spain (15.1 %). At the other end of the range, the proportion of foreign EU citizens living in households with very low work intensity was 1.6 % in Hungary and 2.8 % in Estonia (both low reliability), while shares within the range of 5.0-6.0 % were recorded in Latvia (also low reliability), the United Kingdom and Austria.

The highest proportions of non-EU citizens living in households with very low work intensity were recorded in Belgium, Finland and Sweden — each of these recorded a share within the range of 34.0-39.0 % in 2016. The next highest share was recorded in Croatia (26.8 %; low reliability), while the proportion of non-EU citizens living in households with very low work intensity was between one quarter and one fifth in the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Austria and Bulgaria (low reliability). By contrast, there were five EU Member States where fewer than 1 in 10 non-EU citizens lived in households with very low work intensity, they were: Poland (low reliability), Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia and the Czech Republic (which had the lowest share, at 2.2 %).

As already noted, across the EU-28 a lower proportion of foreign EU citizens (than nationals) lived in households with very low work intensity in 2016. This pattern was repeated in 13 out of the 22 EU Member States for which data are available (see Figure 10 for coverage). Nowhere was this more apparent than in Hungary, where nationals were 4.9 times as likely to live in a household with very low work intensity as foreign EU citizens (low reliability). In Estonia, the share of nationals living in households with very low work intensity was twice as high as that for foreign EU citizens (low reliability), while in the United Kingdom the share of nationals living in households with very low work intensity was 1.9 times as high. By contrast, in the Czech Republic the share of foreign EU citizens living in households with very low work intensity was 2.2 times as high as the share recorded among nationals, while the next highest ratios were recorded in Denmark and Finland where the share of foreign EU citizens living in households with very low work intensity was 1.5 times as high as for nationals.

It is interesting to note that in 2016 both Italy and Luxembourg recorded a higher proportion of nationals — than foreign EU citizens or non-EU citizens — living in households with very low work intensity, while in the United Kingdom the share of nationals living in households with very low work intensity was the same as the share recorded among non-EU citizens and higher than the share recorded among foreign EU citizens.

As may be expected, the share of people aged 55-59 living in households with very low work intensity was generally much higher than the share recorded for the whole working-age population (defined here as those aged 18-59); among others, this may reflect the older working-age population reducing their number of working hours, taking early retirement, ceasing to work due to illness, or facing difficulties in finding new employment opportunities if they have become unemployed. In 2016, this pattern was observed for nationals and for migrants living in the EU-28: the share of older working-age nationals living in households with very low work intensity was 1.8 times as high as the average for all working-age nationals, while a similar ratio was recorded among foreign citizens (low reliability).

The shares of older working-age nationals (19.3 %) and older working-age foreign citizens (23.2 %; low reliability) living in households with very low work intensity across the EU-28 were quite similar in 2016. Among the 20 EU Member States for which data are available (see Table 12 for coverage) a small majority (12) reported a higher share of older working-age foreign citizens living in households with very low work intensity. In Sweden, the proportion of older working-age foreign citizens who were living in households with very low work intensity was 29.7 % (low reliability), which was 2.6 times as high as for nationals of the same age; in Belgium (1.8 times as high), Estonia and Finland (both 1.7 times as high; low reliability for the latter) there were also fairly large differences. By contrast, in Portugal, older working-age nationals were 2.8 times as likely as older working-age foreign citizens to be living in households with very low work intensity (22.6 % compared with 8.1 %; low reliability for the latter). There were also relatively large differences recorded in Slovenia and the Netherlands (low reliability), where the shares for older working-age nationals were 1.7 and 1.5 times as high as the shares for older working-age foreign citizens.

Data sources and availability

The main data source for comparative statistics on income and living conditions, including poverty and social exclusion, is EU statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC). The information presented generally refers to persons of working-age, defined here as people aged 20-64 (other than the section on the share of people living in households with very low work intensity, where the standard age category covers people aged 18-59). Note that the age coverage used in this article may not be the same as that used by Eurostat in the area of social inclusion statistics; for this reason results may differ slightly from information that is published elsewhere.

The population that is at risk of poverty or social exclusion refers to people who are at risk of poverty, and/or severely materially deprived and/or living in a household with a very low work intensity: in other words people in at least one (and possibly two or all three) of these situations. The share of the population at risk of poverty or social exclusion is a headline indicator for monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy.

The at risk of poverty rate is the share of people with an equivalised disposable income (after social transfers) that is below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income (after social transfers).

The material deprivation rate is defined as the share of the population who cannot afford to pay for at least three out of nine specified items (see list below), while people who are unable to afford four or more items are considered to be severely materially deprived. The definition of material deprivation is based on the inability to afford 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, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day;
  • not being able to face unexpected financial expenses;
  • not being able to buy a telephone (including a 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 the heating to keep a house warm.

The share of people living in households with very low work intensity is defined as the proportion of people who are living in a household where the members of working-age (defined here as 18-59 years, other than students in the age group 18-24 years) worked less than 20 % of their total potential during the previous 12 months. The work intensity of a household is the ratio of the total number of months that all working-age household members have worked during the income reference year and the total number of months the same household members theoretically could have worked in the same period. Households composed only of children, of students aged less than 25 years and/or of people aged 60 and over are excluded from the calculation.

For more information on data sources used please consult Migrant integration statistics introduced.

Tables in this article use the following notation:

Value in italics    estimate;
Value in bold  value is of low reliability (due to small sample size);
Value is :  not available.

Context

Eurostat statistics confirm that foreign citizens often face considerable barriers in education, labour markets and accessing decent housing. Indeed, foreign citizens are generally more likely to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion compared with nationals from a host country, even when they are in employment.

The EU’s active inclusion strategy aims to ensure that every citizen, including the most disadvantaged, may fully participate in society, through the provision of adequate income support, inclusive labour markets and access to quality services. Since the signature of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007, European institutions have the mandate to ‘provide incentives and support for the action of Member States with a view to promoting the integration of third-country nationals.’ In June 2016, the European Commission published an Action plan on the integration of third country nationals (COM(2016) 377 final) which set out a range of goals, providing a comprehensive framework to support EU Member States’ efforts in developing and strengthening their integration policies, for example, in the fields of education, employment and vocational training, access to basic services such as housing and healthcare, as well as active participation and social inclusion. The latter includes initiatives, among others, to promote the use of EU funds for: intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and common values; active participation of third country nationals in political, social and cultural life; activities dedicated to ensuring the integration of refugees and asylum seekers; preventing and combating discrimination, racism and xenophobia.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Database

  • 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)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables, figures and maps (MS Excel)

Excel.jpg Migrant integration statistics – at risk of poverty and social exclusion: tables and figures

External links

Notes

  1. Set of common indicators agreed by EU Member States in the Zaragoza Declaration in 2010, see: http://ec.europa.eu/migrant-integration/librarydoc/declaration-of-the-european-ministerial-conference-on-integration-zaragoza-15-16-april-2010.