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Poverty in the EU

2010-06-30   Версия для печати

According to the research “Life in Europe”, nearly 17% of EU population (~85 million people) lives in poverty.

The highest level of poverty is registered in Latvia (26% of inhabitants), Romania (23%), Bulgaria (21%) and Lithuania (20%). Greece is somewhere near them. Also, 15% of German and 12% of Danish and Swedish live in poverty, too.

These facts can tell us nearly nothing about the real situation, because European poverty is quite different from African and Ukrainian and Russian, and moreover, it’s rather non-homogeneous inside the EU. A person can be called “poor” if it has total income less than 60% of an average in the country. For example, in Luxembourg it is 18550 euro per year, 14497 euro in Denmark and 12178 euro in Sweden. In Germany it estimates 10953 euro. Surely, such “poverty” can be very attractive for some Russians or Ukrainians. But we shouldn’t hurry. This statistics doesn’t show the real situation about poverty in these countries, because it pays attention only to countries’ citizens. In fact, millions of migrants live and work in these countries, some of them stay there illegally, and they are not considered in the research. And all in all, 900-1000 euro in Germany is different from 900-1000 euro in Zhmerinka or Urupinsk. Bulgaria which has the line of poverty 1303 euro and Romania with 1172 euro per year also exist, and it’s rather comparable to the income of our pensioners.

To draw the full picture of European  poverty, let’s see more facts. According to the Eurostat, 10% of European citizens didn’t have last year enough money to heat their homes. And in Hungary, which is not the richest country in the EU, but also is not in the list of poorest,  nearly half a million children are suffering from famine.