Greece ranks fourth among the 28 EU member-states for the highest percentage of citizens that are living on or below the poverty line, according to figures released by the independent Greek statistical authority ELSTAT and published in a report by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) on Wednesday.
Based on the report, just over a third of Greeks were living on less than 60 pct of the national median income in 2013 (34.6 pct), or 3,795,100 individuals. This percentage has risen steadily since 2010 and the start of the bailout programmes for Greece, increasing from 27.6 pct in 2010 to 27.7 pct in 2011, 31 pct in 2012 and 34.6 pct in 2013.
ELSTAT’s figures showed that the risk of poverty has increased significantly in Greece since 2010 and the percentage of relative poverty increased by 17.3 pct or 3.4 percentage points. In the same period, the poverty gap increased by 24.1 pct and the risk of poverty and social exclusion by seven percentage points or 25.4 pct.
Among EU28 countries, the percentage living in relative poverty was highest in Bulgaria (49.3 pct), Romania (41.7 pct) and Latvia (36.2 pct).
Greece’s poverty rate also outstripped that in other EU countries that have entered bailout programmes, where the equivalent percentages were 30 pct in Ireland, 28.2 pct in Spain, 27.1 pct in Cyprus and 25.3 pct in Portugal.
The five EU28 member-states with the lowest rates of poverty were the Netherlands (15 pct), Czech Republic (15.4 pct), Sweden (15.6 pct), Finland (17.2 pct) and Luxembourg (18.4 pct). The average poverty rate in the EU28 countries was 24.8 pct and in the Eurozone countries 23.3 pct.