A new Eurostat report (*), issued today, confirms EAPN’s point of view that holding a job is not always sufficient to escape poverty. At a time when ‘growth and jobs’ are presented as the best route out of social exclusion, these figures represent progress in the political debate about the fight against poverty.
The Eurostat report stresses that even if being in employment is an effective way to secure oneself against the risk of poverty and social exclusion, obviously it is not sufficient to escape this risk:
7% of the population in employment in the EU25, amounting to an estimated 14 million people, live in a household whose income is situated below the national poverty line.
In the new Member States, this percentage reaches – on average – 9%, ranging from 3% in Czech Republic to 14% in Slovakia.
In the EU25, around 20-25% of the people aged 16 years and over at risk of poverty are in employment. In Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Lithuania and Slovakia, this share is 40% or higher.
Low pay is an important risk factor of ‘in-work poverty’, but being low-skilled and remaining in unstable and often part-time employment, can also lead to poverty.
Clearly, lone parents or sole earners in households with children are particularly vulnerable to poverty risk. On average in the EU15, at least one in five such workers are exposed to poverty.
The Eurostat report concludes that the fact that Member States seem prepared to measure the extent to which participation in employment is not sufficient to escape income poverty “represents progress in the policy debate about the fight against poverty, where inactivity and in particular unemployment have long been the predominant labour market-related factors used to explain poverty”. EAPN could not say it better…
(*) Statistics in Focus, Population and Social Conditions, “In-work poverty”, 5/2005 available at: http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-NK-05-005/EN/KS-NK-05-005-EN.PDF
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