Percentage of EU pensioners at risk of poverty highest in emerging Europe

The proportion of Europe’s pensioners at risk of poverty is highest in four emerging Europe countries, new figures from Eurostat, the European Union’s statistic department, reveals.

Across the continent, in 2017 the proportion of pensioners at risk of poverty in the EU was estimated to be 14.2 per cent, slightly above the figure of 13.8 per cent in 2016. The rate has been rising gradually since 2013, when it was 12.6 per cent.

Four countries however have an at-risk-of-poverty rate above 30 per cent – all in emerging Europe: Estonia (46 per cent), Latvia (44 per cent), Lithuania (37 per cent) and Bulgaria (32 per cent). In all four countries the at-risk-of-poverty rate for female pensioners was more than 10 percentage points higher than the rate for male pensioners.

Eurostat’s figures were not all bad news for emerging Europe, however. Slovakia has the second-lowest at-risk-of-poverty rate in the EU, at just eight per cent, while Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland also perform above the EU average.

Individuals are identified as being at risk of poverty if their equivalised disposable income is less than 60 per cent of the national median equivalised disposable income after social transfers have been taken into account.