Back Closing the gender pension gap?

3 February 2021

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In 2019, women in the EU aged over 65 received a pension that was on average 29% lower than that of men. However, over time the gender pension gap has been decreasing and is now almost 5 percentage points (pp) lower compared with 2010 (34%).

Although women received lower pensions in all EU Member States, the extent of the gap varies widely. The largest difference was observed in Luxembourg, where women aged over 65 received 44% less pension than men. Luxembourg was closely followed by Malta and the Netherlands (both 40%), Cyprus (39%), Austria (37%) and Germany (36%).

On the other hand, the smallest difference in pension income between women and men was recorded in Estonia (2%), followed by Denmark (7%), Hungary (10%), Slovakia (11%) and Czechia (13%).


Infographic: Gender pension gap in the EU

Source dataset: ilc_pnp13


Compared with 2010, the gender pension gap has decreased in the majority of EU Member States. The most noticeable decreases were recorded in Greece (from 37% in 2010 to 24% in 2019, or -13 pp), Denmark and Slovenia (both -11 pp) and Bulgaria (-10 pp).

In contrast, the gender pension gap increased in 6 EU Member States since 2010. The most significant increase was observed in Malta (from 22% in 2010 to 40% in 2019, or +18 pp), followed by Latvia (+6 pp), Lithuania and Slovakia (both +3 pp) as well as Croatia and Italy (both +2 pp).


1 in 7 pensioners at risk of poverty in the EU

In 2019, the proportion of pensioners aged over 65 at risk of poverty in the EU stood at 15.1%, slightly above the figure of 14.5% in 2018 as well as above the risk of poverty of working age population (16 to 64 years) at 14.2%. Unlike the gender pension gap, at-risk-of-poverty rate for pensioners has been rising gradually since 2014, when it stood at 12.3%.

Across the EU as a whole between 2010 and 2019, the proportion of female pensioners aged over 65 who were at risk of poverty was around 3 to 4 percentage points (pp) higher than the rate for male pensioners.


Infographic: At-risk-of-poverty rate for pensioners by sex in the EU

Source dataset: ilc_li04


In 2019, the proportion of pensioners aged over 65 who are deemed to be at risk of poverty was between 10% and 30% in the majority of EU Member States. The four countries with an at-risk-of-poverty rate above 30% in 2019 were Latvia (54%), Estonia (51%), Bulgaria (36%) and Lithuania (35%).

In contrast, the lowest rates in 2019 were recorded in Luxembourg (7%), Slovakia, France, Denmark (all 9%) and Greece (10%).


Infographic: At-risk-of-poverty rate for pensioners

Source dataset: ilc_li04

Methodological notes:

Gender pension gap: The gender pension gap shows the percentage by which women’s average pension income is higher or lower compared with men. Pension income includes old age benefits, survivors’ benefits as well as regular pensions from individual private plans.

At-risk-of-poverty rate:

  • Individuals are identified as being at risk of poverty if their equivalised disposable income is less than 60% of the national median equivalised disposable income after social transfers have been taken into account.
  • The figures relate to all those aged 65 years or over living in private households who are pensioners (that is retired persons or people receiving a disability pension).
  • In the general population, the proportion of individuals identified as being at-risk-of-poverty in the EU in 2019 was 16.1%.


Note: The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.


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