Non-EU citizens in Malta least materially deprived across EU

Social inclusion of migrants in the EU28 • Non-EU citizens twice as likely to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion as nationals in 2013

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Matthew Vella
21 November 2014, 11:42am
Asylum seekers are among non-EU citizens whose material deprivation is less worse than the rest of the EU, a credit to Malta's social system
Asylum seekers are among non-EU citizens whose material deprivation is less worse than the rest of the EU, a credit to Malta's social system
Non-EU nationals in Malta are among the least “severely materially deprived” in the EU, thanks to a strong national structure that keeps at-poverty-rates as low as possible for Maltese nationals and foreign citizens alike.

With the exception of Malta, the share of non-EU citizens severely materially deprived was higher than for nationals in all EU countries – ranging from 56.8% in Greece to 3.7% in Luxembourg, and for nationals from 42.7% in Bulgaria to 1.0% in both Luxembourg and Sweden.

In 2013, the largest differences between the share of non-EU citizens and nationals being severely materially deprived were observed in Greece (56.8% for non-EU citizens compared with 17.6% for nationals – or 39.2 percentage points), followed by Belgium (+28.8 pp), Portugal (+20.9 pp) and France (+20.4 pp).

On the contrary, the smallest differences were recorded in Malta (8.6% for non-EU citizens compared with 9.1% for nationals, or -0.5 percentage points), Luxembourg rate for non-EU citizens (20.7%) and for nationals (8.9%) was 11.8 pp in 2013.

In 2013 in the EU28, almost half (48.7%) of non-EU citizens were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, while the levels for citizens of the reporting country, referred to as “nationals”, and for citizens of another EU countries were much lower (22.8% and 28.1% respectively).

People at risk of poverty or social exclusion are in at least one of the following three conditions: at-risk-of-poverty after social transfers (income poverty), severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity.

Malta had an at-risk-of-poverty rate of 21%, just under the EU average of 22.8%.

Severely materially deprived persons have living conditions constrained by a lack of resources and experience at least four out of the nine following deprivation items: cannot afford 1) to pay rent/mortgage or utility bills on time, 2) to keep home adequately warm, 3) to face unexpected expenses, 4) to eat meat, fish or a protein equivalent every second day, 5) a one week holiday away from home, 6) a car, 7) a washing machine, 8) a colour TV, or 9) a telephone (including mobile phone).

The pattern was very similar for the severe material deprivation rate, one of the three elements contributing to being at risk of poverty or social exclusion. In 2013 in the EU28, one out of every five non-EU citizens aged 18 and over (20.7%) was severely materially deprived, meaning that they had living conditions constrained by a lack of resources such as not being able to afford to pay their bills, keep their home adequately warm, or take a one week holiday away from home. The share was 8.9% for nationals and even lower for citizens of another EU Member State (7.4%).

Looking at housing conditions, nearly a third (32.0%) of non-EU citizens aged 18 and over lived in an overcrowded household in 2013 in the EU28. In comparison, the rates were just over 15% for nationals (15.3%) and for citizens of another EU Member State (15.6%).

Highest risk of poverty or social exclusion for non-EU citizens in Greece and Belgium

In all EU28 Member States for which comparable data are available, the at risk of poverty or social exclusion rate was higher for non-EU citizens aged 18 and over than for nationals. At least half of non-EU citizens aged 18 and over were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Greece (72.1%), Belgium (68.4%), Spain (59.5%), France (55.8%), Croatia (53.2%), Portugal (51.7%) and Slovenia (50.6%). The lowest rates were recorded in the Czech Republic (30.8%) and Malta (31.4%).

At risk of poverty rates differ the most between non-EU citizens and nationals in Belgium, France, Greece and Spain

In 2013 across Member States for which comparable data are available, the largest differences between the share of non-EU citizens and nationals aged 18 and over being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Belgium (68.4% for non-EU citizens compared with 18.4% for nationals, or +50.0 percentage points), followed by France (+39.9 pp), Greece (+39.5 pp) and Spain (+36.2 pp). At EU28 level, the difference between at risk of poverty or social exclusion rate for non-EU citizens (48.7%) and for nationals (22.8%) was 25.9 pp in 2013.

Highest overcrowding rate for non-EU citizens in Italy, lowest in the Netherlands

In all EU28 Member States for which comparable data are available, the overcrowding rate is much higher for non-EU citizens aged 18 and over than for nationals and citizens of another EU Member State. In Italy (55.7%), Croatia (52.4%) and Greece (51.3%), a majority of non-EU citizens lived in an overcrowded household in 2013. The proportion was below 10% in the Netherlands (4.6%), Cyprus (5.5%) and Malta (8.6%).

Among Member States for which comparable data are available, the largest differences between the share of non-EU citizens and nationals aged 18 and over that lived in an overcrowded household in 2013 were recorded in Slovenia (47.8% for non-EU citizens compared with 13.4% for nationals, or +34.4 percentage points), followed by Italy (+33.2 pp), Sweden (+30.2 pp) and Austria (+29.6 pp), while the smallest differences were registered in Latvia (+1.1 pp), the Netherlands (+2.0 pp) and Cyprus (+3.8 pp). At EU28 level, the difference between the overcrowding rate for non-EU citizens (32.0%) and for nationals (15.3%) was 16.7 pp in 2013.

The data source is the EU-SILC survey, which is the EU reference source for comparative statistics on income distribution, poverty and living conditions.

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.