160,000 live in households that do not afford annual holiday from home

Marginal fall in material social deprivation rates but 49,000 live in households that do not afford paying for holiday, heating, repairs, or sudden bills amongst other items

The rate of material and social deprivation in Malta – an indicator of people who cannot afford at least five of 13 surveyed items – has fallen marginally over 2022.

In 2023, the material and social deprivation rate stood at 9.2%, whereas the ‘severe’ material and social deprivation rate – based on the affordability of at least seven items – stood at 4.1%, a decrease of 0.4 percentage points, and 0.8 percentage points, respectively, when compared to 2022.

The number of persons living in households which were materially and socially deprived stood at 48,969. The number of persons living in households which were severely materially and socially deprived stood at 21,853.

159,485 persons lived in a household which couldn’t afford to pay for a one week’s annual holiday away from home, while 84,570 persons lived in households which couldn’t afford to face unexpected financial expenses of €770 and more.

The data emerges from the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions Survey (EU-SILC), an index that is based on the perceived capacity of households to afford a number of items from a set of 13 standard items.

The 13 indicators are household and personal items: cannot face unexpected expenses; cannot afford one week annual holiday away from home; avoid arrears; afford a meal with meat or vegetarian equivalent every second day; keeping their home warm; have access to a car for personal use; or replace worn-out furniture; cannot replace worn-out clothes with some new ones; have two pairs of properly fitting shoes; spend a small amount of pocket money every week; have regular leisure activities; meet friends or family for a drink at least once a month; or cannot have internet connection.

30% of the surveyed population – 4,515 households – stated their household could not afford to pay for a one-week annual holiday away from home. 15.9% declared that their household would not be able to settle an unexpected financial expense of €770 and over. Moreover, 6.8% could not afford to keep the home adequately warm in winter, and a further 5.7% of the respondents stated that their household was in arrears on mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase instalments or other loan payments.

Personal indicators on material deprivation

Less than 5.7% said their household could not afford very basic needs, such as replacing worn-out clothes with new ones that are not second-hand, or, owning two pairs of properly-fitting shoes, including a pair of all-weather shoes.

In 2023, 5.6% of children were living in severely materially and socially deprived households. Furthermore, 3.7% of adults, and 4.5% aged 65 and over were also considered to be severely materially and socially deprived.

On quality of life, 6.7% indicated that they do not afford to get together with friends and relatives for a drink or meal at least once a month. A further 11.1% stated that they could not regularly participate in a leisure activity, such as sports or attending a concert.

In each quality-of-life indicator, the percentage of females who could not afford an item was higher than men.

In relation to the ability to spend small amounts of money each week for own use, and the availability of internet connection for personal use at home, 11.9% and 1.4%, respectively, declared that these are not afforded. The 65+ year-old cohort had the highest percentage of persons who could not afford spending a small amount of money on themselves (13.7%). Furthermore, 2.3% of those aged 65 years and over could not afford an internet connection at home for personal use.

Problems with main dwelling

Households were also asked to state whether they were experiencing problems with their main dwelling. The most frequently reported problems in 2023 were pollution, grime or other environmental problems (34.6%), and noise from neighbours or from the street with 30.5%. Of the responding households, 9.0% said they had problems with the dwelling being too dark or not sufficiently well lit, and 7.6% reported problems with crime, violence or vandalism in the area.

Among the households which reported problems with their main dwelling, in 2023, 45.6% declared that their household suffered from at least one problem, an increase of 3.0 percentage points when compared to the previous year.