Poverty threatens every seventh pensioner in the European Union





Poverty threatens every seventh pensioner in the European Union

The number of elderly people in the EU living under the threat of poverty is growing at an alarming rate, according to the EU Statistical Agency Eurostat. Moreover, the increase in the probability of living in poverty among older Europeans is quickly becoming a trend, because it has been growing for six years in a row, starting in 2013.


In 2017, the last year for which Eurostat has data, the elderly, who at the age of 65 are at risk of poverty, were 14.2%. This means that poverty threatens every seventh European pensioner. The growth compared to 2016 was a little — 0.4%. However, the growth compared with 2013 is much more noticeable — 1.6%.

These data are, of course, averaged. The spread is quite large: for most EU members, it ranges from 10 to 25%, but, of course, it has its own record-breakers and anti-record players. The first are France and Slovakia, where the level of pensioners living under the threat of poverty is 7 and 8% respectively, as well as Denmark, Hungary and Luxembourg, where this figure is 9%.






The hardest thing to fight poverty is for older people in the Baltic countries. Every third pensioner risks being among the poor in them: Estonia — 46%, Latvia — 44%, and Lithuania — 37%. The closest to the former representatives of the USSR came Bulgaria, where the proportion of pensioners who are at risk of poverty is 32%.

Statisticians also pay attention to the fact that retirees in Europe live harder for women than men — their poverty level is 2-3% higher than that of the stronger sex. However, in this category the Baltic are far ahead of the rest of united Europe. In Estonia, the risk of retirement in poverty is 19% higher for women than for men; in Lithuania — by 16, and in Latvia — by 15. At the opposite pole on this indicator are Italy and Denmark, where the difference between men and women is 1%, and Spain from 2%.

The leadership of the Baltic countries in this anti-rating shows that at least more than a third of the Baltic retirees hardly agree with the optimistic statements of the authorities about the benefits of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for joining the European Union and the transition to the euro. It is especially hard for elderly people in Estonia, where almost every second pensioner is threatened with poverty. In this country, unlike in Western Europe, pensioners are rarely seen in a restaurant or bar, they are much less likely to go on tours. Pensioners are easily distinguished by their faces — they are most often sad. In stores and markets, the attention of older people is mainly focused on price tags — they are trying to count in their mind whether they can afford these or other products.

The Estonian authorities, of course, blame all troubles, including the troubles of pensioners, the Soviet period of the country's history. Of course, there is a certain amount of truth in this explanation. You can, for example, remember how ruble savings depreciated in the second half of the eighties of the last century. After secession from the USSR and independence, pension reforms began in the country, which, according to the government, made life worthy for Estonian pensioners. However, statistics refutes these words. Just look at the growth dynamics of the share of pensioners who are at risk of living in poverty: in 2013 there were 24.4%. For some four years, these figures have almost doubled!
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