Quality of life indicators - economic and physical safety


Data from March 2018

Planned article update: March 2019

Highlights

In 2016, more than one in every three people (36.4) in the EU reported being unable to cope with unexpected financial expenses

Across the EU, almost one in eight persons (13.0) perceived there had been crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived during 2016

Share of the population unable to face unexpected financial expenses, 2016 (% of total population)

This article is part of a Eurostat online publication that focuses on Quality of life indicators, providing recent statistics for the European Union (EU). The publication presents a detailed analysis of various dimensions that can form the basis for a more in-depth analysis of the quality of life, complementing gross domestic product (GDP) which has traditionally been used to provide a general overview of economic and social developments.

The focus of this article is the sixth dimension — economic and physical safety — of the nine quality of life indicators dimensions that form part of a framework endorsed by an expert group on quality of life indicators. A variety of risks may threaten the material conditions and safety of individuals and households. Examples at an individual level may include losing one’s job, health problems, or ageing, while events at a national or even global level may also have an impact, such as the global financial and economic crisis which resulted in a sudden deterioration of economic conditions and a fall in living standards for a wide cross-section of the European population. Alongside these economic aspects that may affect an individual’s quality of life, there are many non-economic risks, such as violence and/or crime, which may endanger an individual’s physical safety. Even in cases where these risks do not materialise, the subjective perception of such a threat may lead to feelings of insecurity which can effectively undermine an individual’s quality of life.

Full article

General overview

There are many risks that may unexpectedly and adversely affect an individual’s or a household’s future material security. For the purpose of this article, these risks are split into two categories: economic safety and physical safety. The former is analysed by presenting statistics which seek to measure a range of different situations in which people may find themselves, such as being unable to face unexpected financial expenses, or being in arrears for mortgage, rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments. The second half of the article deals with physical safety, and is based on an analysis of crime statistics, as well as subjective information on the share of the population that perceives crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they live.

Economic safety

The concept of economic safety is not limited to the existence and magnitude of risks that are related to material living conditions, the probability of them occurring, or their financial implications/severity. In a narrow sense, economic safety may be defined in relation to an individual’s ability to make use of financial resources if these are urgently required. The concept of economic safety may be extended to encompass people’s overall vulnerability or resilience to such adverse situations and the existence of support mechanisms — human and social resources — which provide a safety net for individuals in need, for example, social security systems or assistance provided by family and/or friends.

This first section is therefore based on a combination of subjective and objective information, with economic safety being analysed not only in relation to disposable income or available wealth (for example, the share of the population with arrears on mortgage and rental payments), but also through subjective information which may help provide a more accurate picture of a person’s or a household’s level of economic safety and their vulnerability to economic risk (for example, self-reported ability to cope with unexpected financial expenses).

In 2016, more than one in every three people (36.4 %) in the EU-28 reported being unable to cope with unexpected financial expenses (see Figure 1). At the onset of the global financial and economic crisis, the share of the population that was unable to face unexpected financial expenses had been 34.3 % in 2008, with this share gradually rising to a peak of 40.4 % by 2012, before a period of four consecutive reductions (note that the information for 2008 and 2009 relates to the EU-27).

On the basis of this measure, economic insecurity was generally more widespread in two of the Baltic Member States, several eastern Member States, as well as two southern Member States. In 2016, more than half of the population reported being unable to pay for unexpected financial expenses in eight of the European Union (EU) Member States: the highest share (60.0 %) was recorded in Latvia, with the next highest shares in Croatia (57.7 %) and Cyprus (56.6 %), while more than half of the total population was also unable to face unexpected financial expenses in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Hungary. At the other end of the range, less than one quarter of the population faced such difficulties in Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Malta and Sweden (where the lowest share was recorded, at 20.7 %).

Across the EU, the share of the population that was unable to face unexpected financial expenses rose by 2.1 percentage points between 2008 and 2016. A similar pattern — namely, an increase in the share of the population that was unable to face unexpected financial expenses — was repeated in 15 of the EU Member States, with this share rising at a fast pace in two of the Member States most affected by the financial and economic crisis, Greece (up 27.0 points) and Cyprus (16.5 points); double-digit increases were also recorded in Lithuania, Romania, Portugal and Estonia (note there is a break in series). Among the Member States where a lower share of the population faced such risks in 2016 than in 2008, the biggest reduction was recorded in Hungary, where the share of the population unable to face unexpected financial expenses fell from 67.6 % to 50.8 %; there were also double-digit falls recorded in Poland and Malta.

Figure 1: Share of the population unable to face unexpected financial expenses, 2008 and 2016
(% of total population)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mdes04)

Economically vulnerable groups

In its broadest sense, the notion of economic vulnerability refers to situations in which individuals, households or subgroups of the population are exposed to risks as a result of having insufficient resources to cope with the consequences of unexpected situations. This indicator may be used to identify those groups in society that are unable to withstand the potential damage that may be caused by an adverse (financial) shock. As may be expected, a higher proportion of the population that was living below (rather than above) the poverty threshold was unable to face unexpected financial expenses. In 2016, more than two thirds (68.7 %) of the EU-28 population that was living below the poverty threshold faced such risks, while the corresponding share for people living above the poverty threshold was less than one third (29.7 %) — see Figure 2.

As already shown, overall economic vulnerability is generally less prevalent in western and Nordic Member States. However, it is interesting to note that the risk of economic vulnerability in many of these countries was often considerably higher among people living below the poverty threshold than it was for people living above the poverty threshold. For example, in Luxembourg, the share of the population that was unable to face unexpected financial expenses was 3.8 times as high among people living below the poverty threshold (56.8 %) as it was among people living above the threshold (15.0 %), while in Belgium and Sweden the same ratio was only slightly lower, at 3.7; ratios of at least 3.0 were also recorded in the Netherlands, Malta and Germany.

Figure 2: Share of the population unable to face unexpected financial expenses, by income situation, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mdes04)

Unpaid debts and arrears

In 2016, mortgage or rental arrears were most prevalent in Greece, where 15.3 % of the total population had outstanding debts of this kind (see Figure 3). This was considerably higher than in any of the other EU Member States, as the next highest proportion was recorded in Cyprus (8.6 %), followed by Spain (5.2 %), France (5.2 %) and Hungary (5.1 %). The share of the population reporting arrears on mortgage or rental payments was below 5.0 % in the remaining EU Member States, falling to less than 2.0 % in seven of them and reaching a low of 0.9 % in Romania. These low levels may be related, at least in part, to the small shares of the overall population that had a mortgage or were renting at market prices, thereby limiting the proportion of people who could be in arrears for mortgage or rental payments; for example, in Romania, those people who were homeowners with a mortgage or tenants with a market rent accounted for just 2.0 % of the total population in 2016, compared with an EU-28 average of 45.1 % (click here for a complete data set covering all EU Member States).

The percentage of the population that were behind with their mortgage or rental payments more than trebled between 2008 and 2016 in Lithuania (note there is a break in series), although the overall share — 1.4 % in 2016 — remained relatively low compared with other EU Member States. By contrast, the share of the population that was in arrears for mortgage or rental payments rose from 5.5 % to 15.3 % in Greece during the same period, while there was also a considerable increase in the share of the population with mortgage or rental arrears in Cyprus, Luxembourg and Poland (their shares more than doubled). On the other hand, there were nine Member States where the share of the population that was in arrears for mortgage or rental payments fell. This pattern was particularly clear in Ireland, where the share fell from 5.6 % in 2008 to 1.4 % in 2016, suggesting that Ireland had — at least in terms of this indicator — overcome the impact of the global financial and economic crisis in recent years. That said, the proportion of home owners among Irish citizens decreased between 2008 and 2016 from 81.9 % to 78.8 % (click here for a complete data set covering all EU Member States), suggesting that some Irish people gave up the aspiration to own their own home, perhaps to free up working capital or to diminish their chances of having to face mortgage arrears.

Figure 3: Share of the population in arrears on mortgage or rent payments, 2008 and 2016
(% of total population)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mdes06)

The information presented in Figures 4-7 is for a broader concept, which extends beyond arrears for payments linked to housing (mortgages or rental), by including arrears for other items, namely, utility bills or hire purchase payments which are typically paid as monthly instalments; note that the information presented excludes overdrafts, credit cards, or informal loans from friends and/or relatives. Less than one tenth (9.3 %) of the EU-28 population had such outstanding arrears in 2016 (see Figure 4). In Greece, almost half (47.9 %) of the population was in arrears for their mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments, with this share above one third (34.2 %) in Bulgaria, and more than one quarter in Cyprus (26.6 %) and Croatia (26.4 %); none of the remaining EU Member States recorded shares that were above 20.0 %. By contrast, half (14 out of 28) of the Member States recorded single-digit shares of less than 10.0 %, with the proportion of the population that was in arrears for mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments falling to 5.0 % in the Netherlands, 4.4 % in the Czech Republic and a low of 4.2 % in Germany.

In 2016, the share of the population in Romania and Croatia that was in arrears for mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments was more than 20 times as high as the share that was in arrears solely for mortgage or rental payments; a similar pattern was recorded in Bulgaria (16.3 times as high) and Ireland (10.1 times as high), where the vast majority of arrears were therefore linked to utility bills or hire purchase payments. In contrast, the share of the population in arrears for payments linked to housing in the Czech Republic, Austria, France and the Netherlands accounted for at least half of the total population in arrears for the broader measure.

The overall proportion of the EU’s population in arrears for mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments fell by 1.1 percentage points between 2008 and 2016. Nevertheless, in a majority of the individual EU Member States, the share rose during the period under consideration, most noticeably in Greece and Cyprus (two countries that were particularly affected by the global financial and economic crisis). There were nine Member States where the share of the population in arrears for mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments fell, most noticeably in Romania, Italy and Croatia (note the comparison for the latter concerns 2010-2016).

Figure 4: Share of the population in arrears on mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase, 2008 and 2016
(% of total population)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mdes05)

Figure 5 provides an analysis over time for the share of the EU-28 population that was in arrears for mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments. It shows a rising share of the population faced arrears during and in the aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis, with a peak not being reached until 2014, when 12.6 % of the EU-28 population faced such difficulties. In 2009, the share of the EU-27 population living below the poverty threshold and in arrears for mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments was 2.6 times as high as the corresponding share for the population living above the poverty threshold. This ratio increased gradually to reach a peak in 2015, when the likelihood of being in arrears across the EU-28 was three times higher when living below the poverty threshold than when living above it; there was a modest fall for this ratio in 2016, when the share of the population living below the poverty threshold that was in arrears was 2.9 times as high as the corresponding share for the population living above the poverty threshold.

Figure 5: Share of the population in arrears on mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase, by income situation, EU-28, 2007-2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mdes05)

This idea that people at-risk-of poverty face a greater danger (than the rest of the population) from being unable to service their debt or other regular expenses is developed in Figure 6. In 2016, the share of the EU-28 population living below the poverty threshold that was in arrears on mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments was 22.7 %, compared with shares of 10.4 % for the total population and 7.8 % for people living above the poverty threshold. This pattern — people who earn less than 60 % of the median equivalised income being more likely to be in arrears than the population as a whole — was repeated in each of the EU Member States. More than two thirds (68.5 %) of the population living below the poverty threshold in Greece reported that they were in arrears for such payments, with this share also above half (53.4 %) in Bulgaria and higher than 40 % in Hungary, Croatia and Cyprus. By contrast, the share of the population living below the poverty threshold that was in arrears for mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments was 15.0 % or less in Denmark, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany (where the lowest share was recorded, at 10.3 %).

Figure 6: Share of the population in arrears on mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase, by income situation, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mdes05)

While low income (in both relative and absolute terms) is undoubtedly a major contributory factor for explaining the proportion of the population that are in arrears for mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments, there are other factors which may influence the ability of individuals to service their debt and other regular expenses; one of these is household structure or composition. For example, people living in single person households with dependent children or households with three or more dependent children are more likely to face economic insecurity than the population as a whole (see Figure 7).

While just over one tenth (10.4 %) of the EU-28 population was in arrears for mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments in 2016, this share was twice as high (20.8 %) among people living in single person households with dependent children and was also considerably higher (15.9 %) for the subpopulation living in households composed of two adults with three or more dependent children. Across all of the EU Member States, a higher than average share of single person households with children were living in arrears; this share peaked at 63.4 % in Greece and was within the range of 40-50 % in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia and Hungary. It was also common to find a higher than average share of the population living in households composed of two adults with three or more dependent children in arrears. In Bulgaria, this share peaked at more than three quarters (76.7 %), while the next highest shares were recorded in Greece (62.4 %) and Cyprus (41.4 %). There were however three EU Member States — Denmark, Slovenia and Luxembourg — where a higher share of the total population was in arrears than the share recorded among people living in households composed of two adults with three or more dependent children in arrears.

Figure 7: Share of the population in arrears on mortgage or rent, utility bills or hire purchase, by household type, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mdes05)

Physical safety

Within the context of this article, physical safety refers to being protected from any situation that puts an individual’s physical security at risk — this may include crime and violence. Often a perceived lack of physical safety may affect subjective well-being more than the real impact of any threat. For example, homicide causes only a small fraction of the total number of deaths in the EU-28 each year, however, its impact on people’s emotional lives can be considerable. Consequently, some crimes which have the potential to affect a person’s physical safety are often socially magnified, with an increase in feelings of insecurity or anxiousness.

In 2015, the ratio of homicides per 100 000 inhabitants reached a peak of 5.8 in Lithuania, with the second and third highest rates also recorded among the Baltic Member States, 4.1 and 3.2 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants respectively in Latvia and Estonia. At the other end of the range, the lowest ratio was recorded in Austria where there were on average 0.5 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants in 2015, with the next lowest rates recorded in Spain and the Netherlands (2013 data) — see Figure 8.

A comparison between 2008 and 2015 reveals that the number of homicides per 100 000 inhabitants generally fell. Indeed, there were only five EU Member States where this pattern was not repeated: Slovenia, Cyprus, Sweden, Belgium and Germany. On the other hand, the incidence of homicides fell by a considerable margin in both Lithuania and Estonia, while there were also relatively large reductions in the incidence of homicides in Slovakia, Finland, Romania and Croatia.

Figure 8: Recorded homicides relative to population size, 2008 and 2015
(per 100 000 inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

As noted above, individual perceptions of crime rates do not always correspond to the actual prevalence of offences; this is one reason why subjective indicators may be useful as a complement to objective indicators. Across the EU-28, almost one in eight persons (13.0 %) perceived there had been crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived during 2016 (see Figure 9). This share peaked at one quarter (25.0 %) of the population in Bulgaria, which was considerably higher than in any of the other EU Member States, the next highest shares being recorded in the Netherlands (16.9 %) and the United Kingdom (16.8 %). There were 12 Member States where the share of the population that perceived crime, violence or vandalism in their area was less than 10.0 %, with the lowest rates recorded in Poland (5.6 %), Lithuania (3.4 %) and Croatia (3.0 %).

Between 2008 and 2016 there was generally a fall in the share of the population that perceived crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived. Across the EU, this share fell from 14.7 % in 2008 in the EU-27 to 13.0 % in 2016 in the EU-28 and also fell in a majority (19 out of 28) of the EU Member States. There were relatively large reductions in perceived levels of crime, violence or vandalism in Latvia, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Finland (note there are breaks in series for the first three of these). By contrast, the percentage of the population that perceived crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived increased at a modest pace between 2008 and 2016 in eight of the Member States: Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (note the latter two both have breaks in series) were the only Member States to record increases of more than 1.0 percentage point, with the Netherlands recording the biggest increase in perceived crime, violence or vandalism (up 2.1 points).

Figure 9: Share of the population who perceived there was crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they live, 2008 and 2016
(% of total population)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mddw03)

Figure 10 extends the analysis by looking in more detail at the reported perception of crime, violence and vandalism by income situation. While 15.8 % of the EU-28 population that was living below the poverty threshold in 2016 perceived crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived, this proportion was somewhat lower among the population living above the poverty threshold (12.5 %). This pattern was repeated in a majority of the EU Member States, and was particularly apparent in Hungary where people living below the poverty threshold perceived a level of crime, violence and vandalism (16.0 %) that was almost twice as high as that recorded for people living above the poverty threshold (8.7 %). The share of people living below the poverty threshold who perceived crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived was at least 50 % higher than the share for people living above the poverty threshold in Denmark, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain, Slovakia, France and Germany. However, there were nine Member States where people living above (rather than below) the poverty threshold perceived a higher level of crime, violence or vandalism: Austria, Latvia, Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Poland, Italy, Portugal and Croatia.

Figure 10: Share of the population who perceived there was crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they live, by income situation, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mddw03)

Physical safety by degree of urbanisation

Figure 11 shows an analysis of perceived crime, violence or vandalism by degree of urbanisation. In 2016, the perception among the EU-28 population that these issues were of relevance to the area where they lived was considerably higher for people living in cities (19.1 %), than it was for people living in either towns and suburbs (10.8 %) or rural areas (6.6 %).

Across all three degrees of urbanisation, the proportion of the population that perceived there was crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived was highest in Bulgaria. In 2016, the share of people living in Bulgarian cities that perceived such issues was 1.8 times as high as the EU-28 average (33.5 % compared with 19.1 %), while between one fifth and one quarter of city-dwellers living in Belgium, Italy, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Romania perceived there was crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived. At the other end of the range, some of the lowest levels of perception — across all three degrees of urbanisation — were recorded in Lithuania and Croatia.

In all but two of the EU Member States, the highest perception of crime, violence or vandalism was recorded among people living in cities. The only exceptions — Luxembourg and Hungary — both recorded their highest shares for people living in towns and suburbs. The lowest perception of crime, violence or vandalism was generally recorded among people living in rural areas and this pattern was repeated in all but two of the Member States in 2016. In Cyprus, the share of the population living in rural areas that perceived there was crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived was higher than the corresponding share recorded among people living in towns and suburbs, while in Ireland the shares for rural areas and towns and suburbs were identical.

In Croatia, the share of city dwellers who perceived that there was crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived was 8.4 times as high as for people living in rural areas in 2016. A similar pattern was repeated in Poland, Latvia, Greece, Germany, Denmark and Austria, as the perception of crime, violence or vandalism among city-dwellers was at least 3.5 times as high as for people living in rural areas. By contrast, in Romania, Sweden, Cyprus, Luxembourg and especially Hungary, the share of city dwellers who perceived that there was crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they lived was less than double that recorded among people living in rural areas; in Hungary, the share for city-dwellers was 9.8 % compared with 8.4 % for people living in rural areas, while a peak of 12.3 % was recorded in towns and suburbs; note again that Hungary and Luxembourg were the only EU Member States where people living in towns and suburbs had the highest degree of concern over crime, violence or vandalism.

Figure 11: Share of the population who perceived there was crime, violence or vandalism in the area where they live, by degree of urbanisation, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mddw06)

Conclusion

The information presented above tends to confirm the view that the global financial and economic crisis had a direct impact on the economic safety of individuals in the EU-28; up until 2014 there was a gradual increase in the share of the population that was unable to cope with unexpected expenses and/or were in arrears on regular monthly payments, although both of these shares fell during the two subsequent years. A relatively high share of the populations of Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Croatia had arrears on mortgage payments, rent, utility bills or hire purchase payments in 2016, while economic insecurity — as measured by the share of the population that was unable to face unexpected financial expenses — affected more than half of the total populations of Latvia, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Hungary.

People who were at risk of poverty (living below the poverty threshold) faced a greater likelihood of being unable to service their regular payments or face unexpected financial expenses, while households composed of single adults with children were generally the most economically vulnerable subpopulation when analysing the information by type of household.

Individual perceptions of crime rates do not always correspond to the actual prevalence of recorded offences. There was a considerable variation concerning the incidence of homicides relative to population size across the EU Member States in 2015: the highest ratio was recorded in Lithuania, where the incidence of homicides was almost 12 times as high as in Austria (which had the lowest ratio). The perceived level of crime, violence or vandalism was generally higher among people living below the poverty threshold than it was for people living above the poverty threshold in 2016, suggesting that crime may be more prevalent in poorer areas.

Data sources

The data used in this article are primarily derived from the EU’s statistics of income and living conditions (EU-SILC) survey. EU-SILC is the principal instrument measuring income and living conditions in Europe, and is the main source of information used to link different aspects of the quality of life at an individual and household level. This source is used for the section presented in relation to economic safety, as expressed through indicators that provide a proxy for wealth (for example, the share of the population unable to face unexpected financial expenses) and debt (for example, the share of the population in arrears).

There are two sources of data used for the second section on physical security issues: statistics are taken from EU-SILC to cover perceived levels of crime, violence or vandalism in the areas where people live, providing subjective information that may be contrasted with objective information that is taken from Eurostat’s database on crime and criminal justice.

The provision of data on crime in the EU is complicated by considerable differences in the methods and definitions used in the EU Member States; this should be taken into account when using these statistical data. Crime statistics tend to be reported as ratios per 100 000 inhabitants to allow the incidence of different criminal offences to be compared across countries.

Homicide is defined as the intentional killing of a person, including murder, manslaughter, euthanasia and infanticide; it excludes death by dangerous driving, abortion, assisted suicide and attempted homicide. In contrast with other criminal offences, these statistics relate to the number of victims, rather than the number of criminal cases. Data on homicides are thought to be among the most comparable of crime statistics as they are universally reported (because of their seriousness) and there is little scope for definitions to vary (when compared with other types of crime).

Source data for tables and graphs

Context

There are a range of different risks that may unexpectedly and/or adversely affect a household’s or an individual’s material conditions, as well as their physical security. For the purposes of statistical measurement, two categories of safety have been distinguished: economic safety and vulnerability is analysed in relation to wealth and debt, while physical and personal safety is covered by the recorded incidence of criminal offences as well as perceived levels of crime in areas where people live. Alongside experiencing such criminal acts, these subjective perceptions may result in feelings of insecurity that have the potential to undermine an individual’s quality of life.

The concept of economic safety is mainly addressed by European policies that relate to the safety nets provided by the social security systems of individual EU Member States. The Social Protection Committee (SPC) is an EU advisory policy committee established by the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (Article 160) and monitors the development of social protection policies in the EU Member States.

The Council of the European Union endorsed the EU’s strategy for internal security, titled Towards a European Security Model, at a meeting held in March 2010. The strategy set out the challenges, principles and guidelines for dealing with security threats related to organised crime, terrorism and natural and/or man-made disasters. The European Commission adopted a Communication titled The EU Internal Security Strategy in Action: Five steps towards a more secure Europe (COM(2010) 673 final) with a set of proposed actions for implementation during the period 2010-2014 and this was followed by another Communication titled European Agenda on Security (COM(2015) 185 final) which extended the work done in the area of security, replacing the internal security strategy.

During the period 2015-2017 there was a wide debate around the theme of ‘social Europe’ between EU institutions, Member States, social partners, civil society and citizens. Developments in this policy area centred on a new pillar of social policy: in November 2017, the European Pillar of Social Rights was proclaimed during a summit for fair jobs and growth that took place in Gothenburg, Sweden. It aims to deliver fairness and social justice through new and more effective rights for citizens (the social acquis) and has three main categories covering 20 different principles that are spread over policy areas such as housing, education, social or health care, and employment:

  • equal opportunities and access to the labour market;
  • fair working conditions;
  • social protection and inclusion.

The third category covers a broad range of principles that may be grouped under the heading of safety, covering: childcare and support to children; social protection; unemployment benefits; minimum income; old-age income and pensions; health care; inclusion of people with disabilities; long-term care; housing and assistance for the homeless; access to essential services.

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Further Eurostat information

Main tables

People at risk of poverty or social exclusion (Europe 2020 indicators) (t_ilc_pe)
Income distribution and monetary poverty (t_ilc_ip)
Living conditions (t_ilc_lv)
Material deprivation (t_ilc_md)


Recorded offences by offence category - police data (crim_off_cat)
Recorded intentional homicide and sexual offences (crim_hom)
Court processes (cim_crt)
Prison and prisoner characteristics (crim_pris)
People at risk of poverty or social exclusion (Europe 2020 indicators) (ilc_pe)
Income distribution and monetary poverty (ilc_ip)
Living conditions (ilc_lv)
Material deprivation (ilc_md)
EU SILC ad-hoc modules (ilc_ahm)