By Spiros Sideris – Athens
Over one in three Greeks (35.7%) lives close to the poverty line and social exclusion, while 23% lives on a meager income, even after the social benefits, according to Eurostat data for 2013 that were published on Tuesday.
These figures rank Greece in EU countries with the highest percentage of the population near the poverty line, after Bulgaria and Romania.
According to Eurostat, people close to the poverty line are those living in households with disposable income below 60% of the national median disposable income (after social transfers of allowances), or who are unable to buy vital goods, or who live in households of low intensity work.
According to Eurostat, in 2013 in Greece 3.9 million people , or 35.7% of the population, were living close to the poverty line and social exclusion compared to 28.1% in 2008.
The same year in the EU, 120 million people lived close to the poverty line, or 24.5% of the population, compared to 23.8% in 2008.
The highest rates of population living close to the poverty line or social exclusion were recorded in Bulgaria (48%), Romania (40%), Greece (35.7%), Latvia (35%) and Hungary (33 %).
In contrast, the lowest rates of people living in poverty were recorded in the Czech Republic (14.6%), the Netherlands (15.9%), Finland (16%) and Sweden (16.4%).
Furthermore, 16.7% of the EU population lived on meager income even after receiving the social benefits.
The highest rates of population with meager income was recorded in Greece (23.1%), Romania (22.4%), Bulgaria (21%), Lithuania (20.6%) and Spain (20.4%) and the lowest recorded in the Czech Republic (8.6%) and the Netherlands (10.4%).
As regards with the percentage of the Greek population that fails to cover important material needs in 2013, it amounted to 20.3%, compared with 9.6% in the EU.
This ratio varies widely in the EU, starting from 1.4% in Sweden and 1.8% in Luxembourg and reaching 43% in Bulgaria.
People who fail to meet important tangible goods are those who fail to meet four of the nine following goods: 1) rent, or loan repayment 2) heating 3) unexpected expenses 4) diet with meat or fish every two days 5) holidays away from home for a week 6) Car 7) washing machine 8) color TV 9) phone.
Finally, the highest percentage of the population living in households of low intensity work in the EU, was recorded for 2013 in Greece at 18.2%, versus 10.7% in the EU.
After Greece comes Croatia (16%) and Spain (15.7%).