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Arrears on utility bills

20/01/2020

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Improving the living conditions of its people and fighting poverty and social exclusion is a central part of European Union policies. Nevertheless, there are still households in the EU that have difficulties in making ends meet. In 2018, almost 7% of households had been unable to pay utility bills (heating, electricity, gas, water, etc.) on time, due to financial difficulties. However, this share has fallen steadily in the EU as a whole, from over 10% of households in 2013.

Among households, in particular those with dependent children faced difficulties in paying utility bills on time. In the EU, just below 14% of households consisting of a single adult with dependent children faced such difficulties in 2018, compared to less than 3% of households consisting of two adults (with at least one of them 65 years or older). Among households with two or three adults and dependent children, this share was around 11%.

In 2018, more than a third of households in Greece (36%) had experienced problems paying their utility bills on time during the last 12 months, with many households facing such problems also in Bulgaria (30%). In contrast, few households had been unable to pay their utility bills on time in the Netherlands, Czechia, Sweden and Austria (all around 2%).

These data were collected as part of the annual EU survey on income and living conditions (EU-SILC). For more information on the statistics available in this area, take a look at the overview accessible here.

Chart: Share of households that have been unable to pay utility bills (heating, electricity, gas, water, etc.) on time, due to financial difficulties

The source dataset can be found here.

For more information, see the Statistics Explained article Living conditions in Europe - poverty and social exclusion and the publication Living conditions in Europe - 2018 edition.

On occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Eurostat published a data visualisation tool and interesting facts & figures on people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU, Member States and EFTA countries.

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