Eurostat: Estonia the only EU country where risk of poverty decreased

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Tallinn skyline. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonia was the only European Union country where the at-risk-of-poverty rate decreased compared to 2019, new data from Eurostat shows.

While the at-risk-of-poverty rate in most EU countries either remained stable or did not change in a significant manner, it increased in Portugal, Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Austria and Sweden. Estonia was the only country where the rate among the working age population (18-64 years old) decreased, an overview published by Eurostat reads.

At-risk-of-poverty rate in EU countries in 2020. Source: Eurostat

The overview also points out that the median employment income of the working age population (18-64) in the EU decreased by 7 percent compared with 2019. However, the median disposable household income as well as the at-risk-of-poverty rate remained stable, with varying trends across countries, the European statistics agency wrote.

The main cause of losses in employment stems from the unprecedented rise in the number of workers absent from work or working reduced hours. Temporary measures to reinvigorate the economy helped offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, however.

These temporary schemes played an important role in the stabilization of wages and household income, in particular for those with lower income. Although people in lower income quintiles were more affected by the COVID-19 crisis, these temporary schemes helped to compensate for their income losses. The compensation benefits follow a progressive distribution, being higher for those with lower incomes, Eurostat's analysis reads.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate is the share of people with an equivalised disposable income (after social transfer) below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income after social transfers.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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