Sunday 3/7/21
LIVING CONDITIONS

Growing number of Finns at risk of poverty

In 2020, there were slightly more households experiencing difficulties in making ends meet than in the year before.
A Finnish man, searching for empty cans in the trash in a park in the Uusimaa region. Photo: © Foreigner.fi.
A Finnish man, searching for empty cans in the trash in a park in the Uusimaa region. Photo: © Foreigner.fi.

The most recent official figures show that poverty and difficulties to make ends meet are increasingly present in more Finnish households.

According to Statistics Finland's preliminary data on living conditions, 873,000 Finns, or 16% of the entire household population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2019. The number of persons at risk grew by around 17,000 from the previous year.

The Finnish statistical agency attributes this increase mainly to the growth in the number of low-income households.

Being at risk of poverty or social exclusion means that the person is living in a low income household, a household with low work intensity or a household that experiences severe material deprivation. But the risks can also be simultaneous. The latest figures show that there were 669,000 people living in low income households, 376,000 people with low work intensity and 139,000 living in severe material deprivation in 2019.

Gender differences

Women’s risk of poverty or social exclusion decreased and men's grew in 2019.

In all, 15.9% of women or 438,000 people and 16.2% of men or 435,000 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Experiences of low work intensity were somewhat more common among men (7.6%) than women (6.3%). Men also experience slightly more often than women a risk in more than one risk factor.

Of men at risk 65% were of working age and only 15% pensioners, while around 58% of women at risk were of working age and 26% pensioners.

Risk-of-poverty-2019 by Statistics Finland.Source: Statistics Finland.

Making ends meet in 2020

In 2020, there were slightly more households experiencing difficulties in making ends meet than in the year before. In all, 7.3% of households had difficulties or great difficulties in making ends meet, while in the previous year, the share was 6.8%. The share of households experiencing difficulties in making ends meet has been under 8% throughout the 2010s except for 2011.

In addition, around 72% of households said that they could face unexpected expenses without outside help. The best prepared were pensioner households of two adults, around 91% of whom could face unexpected expenses. The least prepared were one-supporter households (around 47%) and young one-person households (about 56%).

Unexpected expenses refer to the sum corresponding to the monthly at-risk-of-poverty threshold for a one-person household, which in recent years has been around 1,200 euros.

The so-called AROPE indicator (At Risk of Poverty or Social Exclusion) that measures the risk of poverty or social exclusion is part of the monitoring of the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. It aims to reduce the number of persons living at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU by 20 million by 2020 compared with 2008, when there were 116 million people at risk of poverty or social exclusion. In 2018, altogether 108 million persons were at risk in 28 EU countries.

Comments