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France - Europe

A quarter of the european population at risk of social exclusion

A man holds a bag to collect food in a charity food distribution centre "Les Restos Du Coeur".
A man holds a bag to collect food in a charity food distribution centre "Les Restos Du Coeur". Reuters/Eric Gaillard

In 2012, about 124.5 million people, or 24.8 per cent of the population, in the European Union were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 23.7 per cent in 2008.


According to the European Commission figures published today, 11,8 million of French people were falling under the criteria of poverty.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

This means that 19,1 per cent of the French population - one of every five - was in at least one of the following three conditions: at-risk-of-poverty, severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity.

Although the highest shares of persons being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Bulgaria with 49 per cent, Romania 42 per cent, Latvia 37 per cent and Greece 35 per cent.

And the lowest in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic both with 15 per cent, Finland 17 per cent, Sweden and Luxembourg both 18 per cent.

In the European Union, figures showed that:

  • 17 per cent of the population was at risk of income poverty. Greece and Spain recorded highest rates, respectively 23 and 22 per cent of their population compared to 14,1 per cent in France.
  • 10 per cent severely materially deprived, meaning that they had living conditions  constrained by a lack of resources such as not being able to afford to pay their bills or keep their home adequately  warm.  44 per cent were severely materially deprived in Bulgaria compared to 5,3 in France and one per cent in Sweden.
  • 10 per cent were living in households with very low work intensity, meaning where the adults worked less than 20 per cent of their total work potential. Croatia recorded the highest with 16 per cent compared to France with 8,4 per cent.

Although, if these figures are put in terms of population impact, Italy scored the highest rates with 18,2 million of people falling within the criteria, 15,9 million in Germany and 15,1million in the UK compared to Bulgaria where 49 per cent of the population is at risk, a figure which represents only 3,6 million people.

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