Over one fifth of Estonian residents live at risk of poverty

According to Estonia’s official statistics agency, 22.6% of the Estonian population lived at risk of poverty in 2017; the number increased compared with the previous year.

According to Statistics Estonia, 295,000 Estonian residents lived at risk of poverty last year – a 1.6 percentage points increase compared with 2016. In 2017, a person was at risk of poverty if their monthly disposable income was less than €523 (€469 in 2016) and in absolute poverty if the monthly disposable income was smaller than €207 (€200 in 2016).

In 2017, 3.4% of the Estonian population – 44,000 people – were living in absolute poverty, which is 0.2 percentage points more than in 2016.

State benefits and pensions helped prevent falling into poverty – had they not been included in income, 38.5% of the population would have been at risk of poverty (39.2% a year before) and 22.8% in absolute poverty (24.6% a year before).

Compared with 2016, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has decreased both among children and among young people but has increased among older people. In 2017, 47.5% of persons aged 65 and over were living at risk of poverty (41.2% in 2016). Among children under 18, the at-risk-of-poverty rate was 15.9%, 0.6 percentage points lower than in the previous year. The absolute poverty rate of children fell as well – from 3.5% in 2016 to 3.2% in 2017.


Cover: Not everyone can afford a fancy living in Estonia. A Soviet-era apartment building in Tallinn (the image is illustrative/courtesy of Ralf Roletschek/Wikimedia Commons).

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About the author: Silver Tambur

Silver Tambur is the cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Estonian World. He has previously studied journalism at the University of Tartu, and politics and society at the Birkbeck College, University of London. Silver has been the editor at the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s news service in English, as well as contributing for the Business Sense magazine in the UK, Deutsche Welle and Radio New Zealand. You can also follow him on Twitter and like his page on Facebook. You can write to Silver at silver@estonianworld.com.