Just under 90,000 people in Malta are on the verge of falling into poverty or social exclusion, European data has shown. 

The at-risk-of-poverty rate, which analyses the living situations of those in low-income households, was found to have been reduced by a mere one percent in a decade. 

The Eurostat data issued this week studied figures from 2008 and 2018.

While the numbers went down slightly overall – from 20.1 to 19 per cent - the data revealed that those at-risk-of-poverty after receiving social transfers actually went up from 15.3 to 16.8 per cent in decade.

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The number of persons who were severally materially deprived in 2018 stood at 3 per cent of the population, a decrease from 4.3 per cent ten years before. 

It was also revealed that the at-risk-of-poverty rate for young people and the elderly was significantly higher than that of the general population. 

For Eurostat, persons at risk of poverty are those living in a household with “equivalised disposable income” below the risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 per cent of the national median equivalised disposable income.

Young people and the elderly risk higher 

The statistics office data also showed that 22.8 per cent of those under 18 were considered to be at risk, while more than a quarter of elderly people – 26.7 per cent – were inching closer to the poverty line.

Earlier this year it was revealed that a quarter of those aged 65 and over were at risk of poverty in 2017. According to information for previous the years, this was the highest rate since such data first started being collected in 2005. 

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In recent years, the government has repeatedly stated that its efforts had successfully slashed poverty rates, with Family and Social Solidarity Minister Michael Falzon often saying last year that the numbers were a result of successful policies, labelling the measures “prosperity with a purpose”.

The ministry has been contacted for a comment.

What’s the situation in Europe?

On a European level, a downward trend in the share of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion was reported. 

According to Eurostat, in 2018, there were 109.2 million people, or 21.7 per cent of the population, who were at risk of poverty. 

Despite the fall in numbers, the statistics office noted that only 8.2 million people were lifted out of the risk of poverty when compared to a decade ago. 

Bulgaria had the highest rate, at 32.8 per cent, while the lowest rate was recorded in Czechia, at 12.2 per cent. The EU average was 21.7 per cent. 

 

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