More than one fifth of Estonians lived in relative poverty in 2015 (2)
According to Statistics Estonia, just over a fifth of the Estonian population lived in relative poverty in 2015. Just under 4% lived in absolute poverty. While seniors were worse off last year, the situation of children and young and middle-aged people improved slightly.
In 2015, 21.3% of the Estonian population lived in relative and 3.9% in absolute poverty. The number of those living in relative poverty decreased by 0.3% compared to 2015, that of people living in absolute poverty by 2.4%.
State benefits and pensions helped prevent people from ending up in these two categories. Had it not been for them, 39.2% of the population would have lived in relative poverty, and 25.2% in absolute poverty.
In 2015 a person was considered at risk of poverty if their monthly equivalised disposable income was below €429, and in absolute poverty if below €201. In 2015, the income of the poorest and the richest quintile of the population differed by a factor of 5.7 on average.
Compared to 2014, the poverty rate has decreased for children as well as young and middle aged people. But in the case of the elderly, the poverty risk rate has increased. 40.2% of persons aged 65 or older lived in relative poverty, 4.4% more than in 2014.
18.5% of children under 18 lived in relative poverty, or one and a half percent fewer compared to the previous year. The absolute poverty rate of children also decreased, from 9.1% in 2014 to 4.6% in 2015.
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 income quintile.
At the same time, one third of people with higher education belonged to the richest fifth. Therefore, the at-risk-of-poverty and absolute poverty rates of those with higher education were almost three times smaller than those of persons with basic education or lower. A higher level of education is an important prerequisite for the prevention of poverty, statistics show.
The estimations are based on the Social Survey, which has been conducted by Statistics Estonia since 2004. Social surveys are conducted by statistical organisations in all European Union countries on the basis of the harmonised EU-SILC methodology.