Statistics: Number of people living in relative poverty falls

Euros (photo is illustrative).
Euros (photo is illustrative). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

According to Statistics Estonia, 2.3 percent of the population of Estonia lived in absolute poverty and 20.7 percent lived in relative poverty in 2019. Compared to 2018, the share of people at risk of poverty fell by one percentage point. The share of people living in absolute poverty rose by 0.1 percentage point.

According to Anet Müürsoo, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, absolute poverty indicates the share of the population who are not able to meet their basic needs. "Last year, 30,500 people lived in absolute poverty, meaning that their equivalised monthly income was less than €221," Müürsoo said.

The relative poverty rate reflects income inequality in a country. In 2019, there were 272,700 persons at risk of poverty, as their equivalised monthly income was less than €611. "Essentially, a person at risk of poverty may have a good income, but the inequality arises from the fact that other people have an even higher income," Müürsoo explained.

Year on year, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has decreased the most among the elderly and children, and it has increased the most among young people. The relative poverty rate is the highest among single persons aged 65 and older.

"Compared to 2018, there has been a fall in the number of single parents who are at risk of poverty, while the number of couples with three or more children who are at risk of poverty has increased. The absolute poverty rate has risen among children and young people, but it decreased in the age group 50–64," Müürsoo added.

At-risk-of-poverty (relative poverty) rate by type of household (percent), 2018-2019. Source: Statistics Estonia

The relative poverty rate is the highest in Hiiu (31.7 percent), Valga (30.3 percent) and Ida-Viru (29.3 percent) counties. It is the lowest in Harju (15.7 percent), Saare (19.2 percent) and Lääne-Viru (19.6 percent) counties.

In 2020, the share of people living in deprivation – i.e. people who cannot afford various items commonly available in the society – was 6.5 percentof the population, which is 1.2 percentage points less than the year before. The deprivation rate was the highest among 50–64-year-olds (9 percent) and the lowest among 25–49-year-olds (4.7 percent). The deprivation rate decreased the most among single persons aged 65 and older and among single parents.

For more detailed data, visit Statistics Estonia's webpage.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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