In 2014 a total of 21.6% of the Estonian population lived in relative poverty, and 6.3% lived in absolute poverty.
The overall share of people living in relative poverty in Estonia decreased by 0.5% points compared to the previous year, while the share of people living in absolute poverty decreased 1.7 percentage points, Statistics Estonia reported on Tuesday.
In 2014, the income of the population increased and income inequality slightly decreased. State benefits and pensions helped prevent people from becoming statistically poor, since they were not included as income. Without this, the at-risk-of-poverty rate would have been 39.4%, and the absolute poverty rate 28.6%.
In 2014, a person was considered to be at risk if their monthly disposable income was below 394 euros, and in absolute poverty if their monthly disposable income was below 203 euros. In 2014, the difference in income between the poorest and richest fifth of the population was 620%.
Compared to 2013, the at-risk-of-poverty rate decreased in the case of people aged 18–64, but in the case of persons aged 65 and over, the at-risk-of-poverty rate increased. In 2014, 36% of those aged 65 and over lived in relative poverty, compared to 32% in 2013.
In 2014, a fifth of children under 18 lived in relative poverty, while the absolute poverty rate of children slightly decreased, from 10% in 2013 to 9% in 2014.
The level of education significantly affected the risk of falling into poverty. Among persons with basic education or lower, every third was in the poorest and only every fourteenth in the richest 20% of the population. At the same time, one third of people with higher education belonged to the richest group.
Therefore, the at-risk-of-poverty and absolute poverty rates of Estonians with higher education were almost three times smaller than those of Estonians with basic education or lower, totaling 36% and 8.6% respectively. A higher level of education is an important prerequisite for the prevention of poverty.
The at-risk-of-poverty threshold is 60% of the average yearly disposable income of household members, the absolute poverty threshold is the estimated subsistence minimum.
The estimations are based on the Social Survey, which has been conducted by Statistics Estonia since 2004. In 2015, more than 5,700 households participated in the survey. The survey collects data about annual income, which is the reason why the survey of 2015 asked about the income of 2014.
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn