Eurostat: Young People Materially and Socially Deprived, Highest Proportion Recorded in Romania
In 2021, the EU Member States with the highest levels of young people (aged 15-29 years) at risk of poverty or social exclusion were Romania (36.1 %), Greece (35.4 %) and Bulgaria (31.8 %), while the lowest rates were found in Czechia (10.6 %), Slovenia (11.5 %) and Malta (14.0 %), according to Eurostat.
The situation in our country was extremely bad for the 15 – 19 age group, where the percentage goes up to 44.7% (see Figure 1), well above Greece (36.3%) and Bulgaria (36.2%), and a little better for the 20 – 24 age group (33.5%, under Denmark 43.8%, Finland 35.4%, Greece 37.1% and Bulgaria 34.4% ) and the 25 – 29 age group (28.1%, under Greece 32.7%, Italy 31.9%, Denmark 30.2% and Spain 30.0%), in the European context.
An estimated 25.3 % of European Union youth (aged 15-29) — or some 17.8 million people — were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2021. This rate is 4.2 pp higher than that of the overall population older than 16, which stood at 21.1 %.
The risk of poverty and social exclusion is not strictly dependent on a household’s level of income, as it may also reflect joblessness, low work intensity, working status, or a range of other socio-economic characteristics. To calculate the number or share of people who are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, three separate measures are combined and this covers those persons who are in at least one of these three situations:
- persons who are at-risk-of-poverty, in other words, with an equivalized disposable income that is below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold;
- persons who suffer from severe material and social deprivation, in other words, those who cannot afford at least seven out of thirteen deprivation items (six related to the individual and seven related to the household) that are considered by most people to be desirable or even necessary to lead an adequate quality of life;
- persons (aged less than 65 years) living in a households with very low work intensity, in other words, those living in households where adults worked equal to or less than 20 % of their total combined work-time potential during the previous twelve months.
The second component of the at risk of poverty or social exclusion rate is the severe material and social deprivation rate. Material deprivation indicators have been defined to complement the relative poverty indicator (which is based on income) by taking account of non-monetary resources. It is therefore based on a single European threshold.
It is an absolute measure of poverty which captures the differences in living standards between EU Member States. In 2021, the severe material and social deprivation rate for young people (aged 15-29) in the EU stood at 6.1 %. Among the EU Member States, in 2021 the highest proportion of young people (aged 15-29 years) who were severely materially deprived was observed in Romania (23.1 %), followed by Bulgaria (18.7 %) and Greece (14.2 %). Less than 3.0 % of young people were severely materially or socially deprived in eleven Member States — see Figure 2.
- In 2021, 17.8 million young people (aged 15-29) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU.
- The at-risk-of-poverty of young people aged 15-29 was 3.3 percentage points higher than that of the total population.
- 9.4 % of people aged 15-29 years in the EU lived in households with very low work intensity.
- The severe material and social deprivation rate ranged from almost 1 in 4 persons aged 15-29 in Romania to less than 1% in Estonia and Austria.
The third component of the at risk of poverty or social exclusion rate is defined as living in households with very low work intensity. People living in such households are more likely to be exposed to social exclusion.
In 2021, 6.5 million people aged 15-29 years in the EU lived in households with very low work intensity, equivalent to 9.4 % of the population of this age group — see Figure 3. Among the EU Member States, Denmark (16.1%), Greece (15.0 %), and Ireland (13.0 %) recorded the highest proportions of young people (aged 15-29 years) who lived in households with very low work intensity in 2021.
The lowest proportions were registered in Slovenia (3.5 %), Malta (3.7 %) and Poland (3.8 %). Surprisingly, we rank 24th place in this respect, so we stand next to these three states, but there are little to no policies targeted to eradicate poverty in the Romanian young generation. Which should be an important topic in future socio-economic policies.