24% of Maltese at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2014

The monetary at-risk-of-poverty rate stood at 15.9 per cent • “Drop in poverty and exclusion rates is the first time in ten years”- Government

The Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey revealed that during 2014, the monetary at-risk-of-poverty rate stood at 15.9 per cent. The at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate stood at 23.8 per cent.

The average household gross income and the mean disposable income stood at €29,948 and €24,730 respectively. These figures were used for the computation of the median national equivalised income (NEI) and the monetary at-risk-of-poverty threshold. The latter rose by 5.7 per cent when compared to the previous year, reaching €7,672.

The survey showed that 65,987 persons living in private households, or 15.9 per cent, had an equivalised income below this threshold, and were considered to be at-risk-of-poverty (refer to methodological notes). The S80/S20 ratio, which compares the earnings, in NEI, of the richest and poorest 20 per cent of the population, stood at 4.0 (.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate among persons aged below 18 years of age stood at 24.1 per cent. Concurrently, this rate stood at 16.9 per cent for persons aged 65 and over.

Persons living in single parent households were found to be more susceptible to being at-risk-of-poverty. In fact, 46.3 per cent of these persons had an NEI below the at-risk-of- poverty line. A significant difference between the at-risk-of-poverty rates exists between households with and without dependent children. Figures stood at 19.4 and 12.1 per cent respectively.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate was found to decrease with increasing household work intensity. This rate ranged from 64.0 per cent among persons living in households with very low work intensity to 0.9 per cent for those in households with very high work intensity.

Over half of the surveyed population were living in households claiming that not all the household members could afford to pay for a one-week annual holiday away from home. In addition, 22.1 per cent could not afford to keep their home adequately warm in winter, while 24.7 per cent could not afford to face unexpected financial expenses. The severe material deprivation rate stood at 10.2 per cent.

The at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion indicator takes into account the at-risk-of-poverty

rate, the severe material deprivation rate and the share of persons living in households Unit C1: Living Conditions with very low work intensity. This indicator stood at 23.8 per and Culture Statistics cent in 2014.

“Drop in poverty and exclusion rates is the first time in ten years”- Government

The government has pointed out that the drop in poverty and social exclusion rates is the first in ten years.

“A 2014 study by NSO showed that 23.8% of families were at risk of poverty in 2013, which marks a 24% drop compared to the last year of the previous administration,” a government statement reads.

The statement adds that in the first year of the current administration, poverty rates for those under 18 had dropped to 31% from 32% during the previous year.

“An improvement in families below the retirement age was also noted in the first yeart of the current administration, with the rate dropping from 22.5% to 21.8%”

The government added that available income in average families had increased by 5.2%, because inflation rates had been lowered to 1%.

“This effectively means that families could enjoy an additional €1,000, which contrasts with the €400 increase obtained in the last year of the previous administration.”

While noting the improvement in the typically more vulnerable groups, the government added that it would be working hard to accelerate improvement in the sector, through moves like the planned pensions reform, which addresses poverty amongst pensioners.

“Poverty is not a perception and the upcoming budget will include measures to increase economic activity and give those with a low income more opportunities and support.”