Over 82,000 people in Malta at-risk-of-poverty, according to EU data


Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Based on the income year 2018, the number of at-risk-of-poverty persons living in Malta was estimated at 82,758, while the average gross household income for 2018 is estimated at € 34,627 while the average disposable household income is estimated at € 28,505, according to the latest data published by the National Statistics Office, NSO after the survey on European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions was conducted.

The European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey is an annual enquiry conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) among persons residing in private households in Malta and Gozo. Income statistics refer to the calendar year 2018, while non-income components, such as material deprivation, refer to 2019, which is the data collection year.

The survey also shows that the number of persons living in households with a national equivalised income below the at-risk-of-poverty line, €9,212, was 82,758. This translates into an at-risk-of-poverty (ARP) rate of 17.1%, 0.3 percentage points higher than that recorded for the previous year.

Based on the income year 2018, the number of at-risk-of-poverty persons living in Malta was estimated at 82,758.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate (ARP) among persons below 18 years of age was calculated at 20.6%, hence decreasing by 0.8 percentage points from the previous year. The rate for those aged 65+ persons went up to 27.7%, equivalent to an increase of 2.4 percentage points.

At a district level, the distribution of persons under the ARP threshold was uneven across the Maltese Islands, with the Northern Harbour district having the largest share of ARP persons followed by the Southern Harbour district. On the other hand, the Western district registered the lowest ARP rate.

In 2019, the severe material deprivation rate among persons living in households was 3.6%. This figure is 0.6 percentage points more than the same rate estimated from EU-SILC 2018.

The two most influential variables contributing to this increase were:

  • the ability of households to spend one week’s annual holiday away from home
  • the ability of households to face unexpected financial expenses

At 20.1%, the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate increased by 1.1 percentage points when compared to EU-SILC 2018.

Household income

Disposable income is the amount of money available to households for spending purposes, after deducting taxes, social contributions and alimonies.

Over three-quarters of the total gross household income was attributed to employment income. The share of social benefits (including old-age benefits) stood at 18.1%. According to NSO, there were minimal differences in the percentage distributions of household income over the past ten years.

Government reacts

Social Solidarity Minister Michael Falzon said that families saw an increase of €13 weekly in their disposable income. He added that disposable income has increased by €5,000 a year when compared to 2013.

The Minister noted that those with an annual income of less than €6,000 had decreased from 16,500 to 14,500. He added that before 2013, more than 36,500 individuals had an annual income of less than €6,000.