According to data from the Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus, 17.3% EE2030 (21.7% EE2020) or 154,000 people lived below the poverty line in 2021, with the unemployment rate at 5.1% in the second quarter of 2022, compared to 6.8% in the corresponding quarter of 2020. This is mainly attributed to the sectors of the economy, which have the biggest impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, the references in this document aim to highlight specific issues and groups of citizens that face problems of poverty and social exclusion.
From the reports we come to the general observations below:
- The rate of risk of poverty and social exclusion in all, or almost all indicators, from 2008 to 2019 records a downward course and tendency nevertheless remains at high levels at 17.3%.
- The rate of risk of poverty and social exclusion in 2020 and 2021 is on the rise, in all, or almost all, indicators (where there is data for this year). This can only be recorded consequently as a result of the pandemic.
- The rate of risk of poverty and social exclusion, despite the reduction observed in previous years in the total population (from 2013 to 2019), is still higher in the female population, in almost all the indicators examined. In the AROBE index and while the total percentage of the population at risk of poverty and social exclusion is for 2021 at 17.35, for women it is 18.7% compared to 15.8 for men, i.e. 3% lower.
- The reduction in the rate of poverty risk and social exclusion did not help to narrow the poverty gap between men and women.
- Social transfers are important for a large percentage of the population to avoid falling into poverty and social exclusion.
- The rate of risk of poverty and social exclusion of women in the +65 age group is still considerably higher (22.2% for 2021) than that of men (17.5%) in the same age group, i.e. 4.7% higher.
- The rate of risk of poverty and social exclusion of people under the age of 17 who live in single-parent families is higher (33%) than people who live in a household with two adults (14.6% with 2 children, 24.6% with 3 children).
- The upward tendency recorded until 2016 (rate of 23.2%) in child poverty (persons 0-17 years old) is halted, and there is a downward tendency in child poverty, which however stands at 19.2% in 2021. The structure of households has a significant impact on the total disposable income of households and consequently on the existence of child poverty. In fact, different types of households have different risk of-poverty profiles, with the group most affected of all being children living in single-parent households. In addition, households with very low work intensity, with dependent children, are at the highest risk of poverty or social exclusion.
Based on the Cyprus National Reform Program 2016, the national 2020 target for the reduction of poverty and social exclusion is: “The Reduction of the number of people-at–risk-of-poverty and social exclusion by 27,000 people by 2020.” However, based on the Poverty Watch Report, the above target is far from being reached. The latest data available (2019) shows that poverty percentage in Cyprus is 22.3%. Covid has likely increased poverty in Cyprus.
Poverty Watch Main Findings
Most affected groups
People 65+ years of age
Foreigners and non-EU25 foreigners
- Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) scheme
- Tax and non-contributory benefits in fending off the effects of economic crisis
- Security for people with disabilities
- An effective pension system
- Improving gender equality
Qualitative labour market and increasing employment
1. Reinforce adequate income (quality jobs with fair living wages and minimum income and social protection income support)
2. Access to key public and essential services (public health and care services, education, training and lifelong learning and social, affordable housing)
Nicos Satsias | PCCPWC
PO Box 50320
3603 Limassol (Cyprus)
Tel: +357 996 36 936 / +357 258 78 585
Fax: +357 253 43 031
E-mail: eleninkaraoli (@) hotmail.com