One-quarter of Hungarians at risk of poverty or social exclusion

October 19, 2017

One-quarter of Hungarians at risk of poverty or social exclusion
Photo: abcug.hu/László Mudra

In 2016, 14.5 percent of Hungarians were at risk of income impoverishment, 16.2 percent were severely materially deprived and 8.2 percent could not remain employed on the job market. Only in the second category did Hungary score below the EU average, reports index.hu.

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published the report on persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, on October 17. The office compared the 2016 figures with those of 2008, which showed that trends have been improving over the past eight years, meaning that figures are now close to where they were in 2008, before the global financial crisis resulted in higher poverty and unemployment.

In 2016, 117.5 million people, or 23.4 percent of the EU population, were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The same risk affected 26.3 percent, or 2.5 million people, in Hungary. Such people were in at least one of the following three conditions: at-risk-of-poverty after social transfers (income poverty), severely materially deprived, or living in households with very low work intensity. This rate was 28.2 in 2008.

About 1 in 6 persons in the EU are at risk of income poverty after social transfers, meaning that their disposable income was below their national at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which amounts to HUF 1.48 million annually in Hungary. Only 1 in 7 are at risk of this in Hungary, but this figure is still 2 percent higher than in 2008.

7.5% were severely materially deprived in the EU in 2016, meaning that they had living conditions constrained by a lack of resources such as not being able to afford to pay their bills or keep their home adequately warm. This ratio has decreased compared with both 2015 and 2008 (8.5%). However, in Hungary 17.9% were materially deprived in 2008, and despite the 1.7% decrease, the rate is still much higher than the EU average.

1 in 10 under the age of 60 live in households with very low work intensity, or in households where the adults worked less than one-fifth of their total work potential during the past year. It is the second year in a row since 2008 that this proportion decreased in the EU. In Hungary, 12 percent were affected in 2008, making Hungary the most effective in this area of  eradicating poverty after a 4 percent decrease.

The reduction of the number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU is one of the key targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.