On Monday, Eurostat, the EU’s office for statistical information at the European level, released a report detailing living conditions within the European Union, using data from 2008. The assessment, which focused on rates of poverty and material wealth amongst the populations of the 27 Member States, found that 17 percent of the EU is at risk of poverty. In Poland, the number is the same as the average: 17 percent.
However, the risk is amplified for those aged 0-17, which rises to 22 percent within Poland, higher than the average of 20 percent. However, the risk of poverty for the elderly in Poland is surprisingly low at 12 percent, compared to the average of 19 percent. Those who are employed face the lowest risk of poverty, but here Poland’s numbers were higher than the average, at 12 and eight percent, respectively.
The study also compared rates of material deprivation based on four factors: the ability to pay for a one week annual vacation away from home; to keep the home adequately warm in the winter; to afford a meal with meat or fish at least every second day; and the ability to afford a car. Poland compared to the EU average as follows: 63 percent could not pay for a vacation (37 EU average), 20 percent could not keep their homes warm (10 EU average), 21 percent could not afford a meal with meat every second day (nine EU average), and 17 percent could not afford a car (nine EU average).
While Poland found itself closer to the bottom than to the top in most categories, it was not amongst the lowest-performing. Overall, the study found that the highest rates of material deprivation were in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Latvia, and the lowest in Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Sweden.