The percentage of Bulgarians at risk of poverty or social exclusion dropped from 44.8 per cent in 2008 to 38.9 per cent in 2017, but this figure was still the highest in the European Union, according to figures released on October 15 by EU statistics agency Eurostat.
In real terms, the number of Bulgarians at risk of poverty or social exclusion was about 3.4 million in 2008, dropping to 2.7 million in 2018, going by the Eurostat figures.
Bulgaria was one of the three EU countries where in 2017 more than a third of the population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
The other two were Romania (35.7 per cent) and Greece (34.8 per cent).
At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest shares of people being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in the Czech Republic (12.2 per cent), Finland (15.7 per cent), Slovakia (16.3 per cent), the Netherlands (17 per cent), Slovenia and France (both 17.1 per cent) and Denmark (17.2 per cent).
In 2017, 112.9 million people, or 22.5 per cent of the population, in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, Eurostat said.
This means that they were in at least one of the following three conditions: at risk of poverty after social transfers (income poverty), severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity.
After three consecutive increases between 2009 and 2012 to reach almost 25 per cent, the proportion of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU has since continuously decreased to 22.5 per cent last year, 1.2 percentage points below its 2008 reference-point and one percentage point below the 2016 level.
Among member states for which 2017 data are available, the at risk of poverty or social exclusion rate has grown since 2008 in 10 EU countris, with the highest increases being recorded in Greece (from 28.1 per cent in 2008 to 34.8 per cent in 2017, or +6.7 percentage points), Italy (+3.4 pp), Spain (+2.8 pp), the Netherlands (+2.1 pp), Cyprus (+1.9 pp) and Estonia (+1.6 pp).
In contrast, the largest decrease was observed in Poland (from 30.5 per cent to 19.5 per cent, or -11.0 pp), followed by Romania (-8.5 pp), Latvia (-6.0 pp) and Bulgaria (-5.9 pp). … / IBNA