The Malta Independent 24 March 2019, Sunday

Over 14,000 cannot afford two pairs of shoes, 11,000 can’t replace worn out clothes – survey

Tuesday, 17 April 2018, 14:51 Last update: about 11 months ago

3.2% of households (11,633 people) cannot afford very basic needs, such as replacing worn out clothes with new ones, and 4% (14,329 people) do not afford owning two pairs of properly fitting shoes, according to the results of a social deprivation survey published yesterday by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

The European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) for 2017 found that over a third of Maltese households cannot afford to pay for a one-week holiday away from home, and 6% of households are unable to keep their home adequately warm in winter.


 15.8% of respondents said that they would not be able to settle an unexpected financial expense of €650 and over.

One in five persons said that their household had been in arrears on mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase instalments or other loan payments.

By contrast, persons who said that their household could not afford to own a washing machine, colour TV or telephone was negligible.

The survey found that 8% are deprived, and 3.3% are severely deprived. Compared to 2016, these rates decreased by 2.3% and 1.1% respectively.

A household is deemed to be materially deprived if it does not afford at least three of the nine deprivation items, and severely deprived if it does not afford at least four.

The nine items are: (1) Household cannot afford to face unexpected financial expenses (15.8%/67,836); (2) Household cannot afford to pay for one week’s annual holiday away from home (34.1%/147,059); (3) Household has been in arrears on mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase instalments or other loan payments (5.8%/25,017); (4) Household cannot afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish or vegetarian equivalent every second day (6%/25,893); (5) Household not able to keep home adequately warm in winter (6.6%/28,565); (6) Household cannot afford a washing machine (data not published due to unreliable survey estimates because of; less than 20 reporting households or; non-response for the item exceeds 50%); (7) Household cannot afford a colour TV (“”); (8) Household cannot afford a telephone (including a mobile phone (“”); Household cannot afford a car (1.7%/7,310).

Persons who are most affected by material deprivation are those under 18 years of age. In 2017 an estimated one in ten children lived in conditions of material deprivation while one in twenty lived I a state of severe material deprivation.

The EU-SILC survey also collects supplementary statistics on material deprivation and social exclusion from persons living in households aged 16 years and over.

7.2% (25,941) indicated that they could not afford to get together with friends/family for a drink or a meal at least once a month.

13.3% (48,025) said they could not regularly participate in a leisure activity such as sports or concerts.

11.3% (40,721) said they were not able to spend small amounts of money each week for their own use.  1.7% (6,191) said they did not have an internet connection for personal use at home.

In all instances females tended to be more disadvantaged than males.

Those aged 35-64 were slightly less likely to afford spending a small amount of money on themselves (12.4%) while those aged 65 and over (2.6%) made up the largest proportion who could not afford a home internet connection for personal use.

Asked about problems with their main dwelling, a quarter of households complained of noise made by neighbours or from the street. Problems with pollution, grime, or other environmental problems were indicated by nearly 27% of households.

Issues of crime, violence and vandalism were a concern for one in ten households, as, were issues of leaking roofs, damp walls/floors or rot in window frames or floor.

Less than 1% of households said they did not have access to a bath or shower for the sole use of that household.

Reacting to the survey findings, the government said the rate of severe material deprivation had decreased. This was the lowest rate since statistics of this kind started being observed.

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