Over a fifth at risk of poverty or social exclusion

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Just over a fifth of people resident in Maltese private households are deemed to be either at risk of poverty or social exclusion, according to the latest figures forming part of the EU’s Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC).

The latest figures, however, concern 2019, before the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to EU-SILC, people are considered to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion if they meet at least one of three criteria. In total, around 97,183 people – or 20.1% of the population living in private households in Malta – were estimated to meet at least one of the criteria.

The first criterion is an income that is below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, set at 60% of the national equivalised income – calculated at €9,212 in 2019. 17.1% of those living in private households – around 82,758 persons – were estimated to be at risk of poverty, including nearly 28% of those aged 65 and over.

The second criterion is severe material deprivation, and households are considered to be severely materially deprived if they cannot afford four or more items in a specific list of 13, which includes unexpected financial expenses, a week’s annual holiday away from home and an internet connection. In 2019, 17,506 persons, equivalent to 3.6% of those living in private households, were estimated to be severely materially deprived.

The final criterion is low-work-intensity households, defined as those in which the adults aged 18 to 59 worked under a fifth of their work potential. In 2019, around 3.7% of Maltese households were believed to be of low work intensity.