Increasing poverty in the European Union (3 graphs)
Did poverty rapidly increase in countries like Greece? Yes, according to Eurostat data. The poverty level in Greece is after steep increases at the moment the highest of any non-Eastern European EU country. Indices of ‘material deprivation'(see below) also show steep increases in Hungary as well as (albeit at a lower level) in Italy, the UK and Spain. In the Baltic countries comparable increases could be witnessed, though levels are going down at the moment. Poland, close to the Baltic countries and having a somewhat comparable economic history, did however not witness any kind of ‘Baltic’ increase. Remarkably, the level in Iceland, which also experienced a financial crisis but which pursued a less creditor friendly policy, did not increase.
Poverty can be estimated in different ways. One way is to look at relative poverty and income inequality: how large are differences within a country (or the world). It can also be estimated in a more absolute way. Eurostat does this by estimating the number of ‘severely materially deprived households”. Eurostat defines material deprivation in the next way (if you do not agree please first read a manual about it):
“The collection “material deprivation” covers indicators relating to economic strain, durables, housing and environment of the dwelling. Severely materially deprived persons have living conditions severely constrained by a lack of resources, they experience at least 4 out of 9 following deprivations items: cannot afford i) to pay rent or utility bills, ii) keep home adequately warm, iii) face unexpected expenses, iv) eat meat, fish or a protein equivalent every second day, v) a week holiday away from home, vi) a car, vii) a washing machine, viii) a colour TV, or ix) a telephone.”