The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

Number of materially deprived people rises, but rate of severe material deprivation drops slightly

Jake Aquilina Monday, 26 April 2021, 14:06 Last update: about 15 days ago

The number of people in severe material deprivation decreased slightly, as the percentage of people in material deprivation increased, a report by the National Statistics Office (NSO) revealed.

The European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey revealed that in 2020 the material deprivation rate in Malta stood at 8.7%, whereas the severe material deprivation rate stood at 3.3%. Compared to 2019, the number of people with material deprivation increased by 0.3%, whereas the number of people in severe material deprivation decreased by 0.3%.

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This is as in 2019, the number of people with material deprivation stood at 8.4%, which equates to 40,731 people, while in 2020, this climbed to 8.7%, totalling to 43,733 people.

On the other hand, the number of people in severe material deprivation stood at 3.6% in 2019, totalling 17,506 people. This decreased to 3.3% in 2020, which equals 16,636 people.

A person living in a household is deemed to be materially deprived if this person could not afford at least three of the nine deprivation items, and severely materially deprived if this person could not afford at least four items. Such deprivation items are as follows: Household cannot afford to face unexpected financial expenses (€740 and over); Household cannot afford to pay for one week's annual holiday away from home; Household has been in arrears on mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase instalments or other loan payments; Household cannot afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish or vegetarian equivalent every second day; Household not able to keep the home adequately warm in winter; Household cannot afford a washing machine; Household cannot afford a colour TV; Household cannot afford a telephone (including mobile phone) and Household cannot afford a car.

3.9% of children aged 0 to 17 lived in a severely materially deprived home. This percentage stood at 3% for adults aged 18 to 64, and 4% of the elderly aged 65 and over.

Regarding notable deprivation items, 32.9% of the surveyed sample said that their household could not afford to pay for a one-week annual holiday away from home. Furthermore, 16.3% said that their household would not be able to settle an unexpected financial expense of €740 and over. Moreover, 7.2% said that they were not able to keep their home adequately warm in winter and another 7% of the respondents said that their household had been in arrears on mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase instalments or other loan payments.

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