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Living Standards - Material and social deprivation in the EU in 2016

Geoff Riley

12th December 2017

In March 2017, the EU adopted a new indicator of ‘material and social deprivation. The EU has just published their latest statistics on the scale and extent of material and social deprivation across member nations.

Their data is another example of composite measures used to assess the depth of relative poverty and inequality and also (in a more hopeful vein) progress in lifting people and communities to higher standards of living.

In 2016, 16% of the EU population (75 million people) suffered from material and social deprivation.

The highest material and social deprivation rate was registered in Romania (50%) Bulgaria (48%) and Greece (36%)

Nordic Member States and Luxembourg reported the lowest shares of material and social deprivation: 3% in Sweden, 4% in Finland, 5% in Luxembourg and 6% in Denmark.

In the UK, the figure was 13%.

Material and social deprivation is calculated when people cannot afford five or more of the following:

  • face unexpected expenses;
  • one week annual holiday away from home;
  • avoid arrears (in mortgage, rent, utility bills and/or hire purchase instalments);
  • afford a meal with meat, chicken or fish or vegetarian equivalent every second day;
  • keep their home adequately warm;
  • a car/van for personal use;
  • replace worn-out furniture;
  • replace worn-out clothes with some new ones;
  • have two pairs of properly fitting shoes;
  • spend a small amount of money each week on him/herself (“pocket money”);
  • have regular leisure activities;
  • get together with friends/family for a drink/meal at least once a month;
  • have an internet connection.

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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