The Malta Independent 24 January 2022, Monday

Over 100,000 people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2020

Thursday, 2 December 2021, 15:25 Last update: about 3 months ago

The at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate in Malta was estimated at 19.9% of the population in 2020, statistics issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) show.

This equals 100,712 people.

Persons are considered to be at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion if they are in at least one of the following states: at-risk-of-poverty, severely materially and socially deprived, or living in households with very low work intensity.

The NSO said that the at-risk-of-poverty threshold is set at 60% of the national equivalised income which proportion, in 2020, was calculated at €9,744. In this year, 16.9% of the population living in private households were estimated to be at-risk-of poverty, equivalent to around 85,369 persons.

The largest share was registered among the elderly persons aged 65 and over, 26.3% of this age cohort. The relative median at-risk-of-poverty gap is an indicator which measures the extent to which the income of those persons who are at-risk-of-poverty falls below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. In 2020, this was estimated at 16%, down from 17.1% a year earlier.

Deprivation indicators

The material and social deprivation indicator aims to capture the social dimension of poverty and therefore, its coverage goes beyond the material dimension. Apart from items such as the ability to replace worn-out furniture and worn-out clothes, this statistic measures social pursuits, such as leisure activities undertaken regularly and meeting with family and friends.

Severely materially and socially deprived persons are considered as such if their household cannot afford at least seven items out of the 13 material and social deprivation items. These items include: affording a one week annual holiday away from home; avoiding arrears; replacing worn-out clothes with some new ones; spending a small amount of money each week on him/herself; affording keeping their home appropriately warm, etc.

In 2020, 25,644 persons, equivalent to 5.1% of the population living in private households, were estimated to fall in this category, the NSO said.

“Materially and socially deprived persons are observed as those who cannot afford at least five deprivation items. These were estimated at 9.4% of the population, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points from 2019. Across the 13 material and social deprivation items, the most prevalent deprivation item was inability to pay for a week’s annual holiday away from home, accounting for 32.9% of the population in private households.”

Low-work-intensity households

The third aspect of the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion indicator concerns very low-work-intensity households, defined as those in which the adults (aged 18 to 64) worked under one-fifth of their work potential in the year preceding the survey.

In 2020, the very low-work-intensity rate was calculated at 4.2% of the private-household population, the NSO found.

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