According to Statistics Estonia, 21.7% of the Estonian population lived at the risk of poverty and 2.4% lived in absolute poverty in 2018.
Compared with 2017, the share of people at the risk of poverty decreased by 0.2 percentage points and the share of those living in absolute poverty by 0.3 percentage points, the country’s official statistics agency announced.
In 2018, a person was considered to be at the risk of poverty if their equivalised monthly disposable income was less than €569, and in absolute poverty if it was less than €215.
The at-the-risk-of-poverty rate decreased for people living alone as well as among single parents, Statistics Estonia said.
However, the gap between the richest and poorest people did not change, compared with 2017.
More children at poverty risk
State benefits and pensions helped prevent falling into poverty. “Without including these in income, 39.1% of the population would have been at the risk of poverty and 22.7% in absolute poverty,” the agency said in a statement.
Compared with 2017, the at-the-risk-of-poverty rate remained at the same level (20.9%) among young people aged 16–24 but increased among children. “Among children under 18, the at-the-risk-of-poverty rate was 17.1% in 2018, ie 1.9 percentage points more than in 2017. At the same time, the absolute poverty rate of children fell from 2.5% in 2017 to 1.6% in 2018.”
The number of older people living at the risk of poverty has decreased, on the other hand – the rate among persons aged 65 and older fell from 46.4% in 2017 to 43.1% in 2018.
Cover: An elderly woman in Estonia (photo by Birgit Püve).