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Poverty and social exclusion in the EU

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Population and social conditions
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POPULATION AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS
16/2004
Authors Ian Dennis, Anne-Catherine Guio
C o n t e n t s Common indicators for social inclusion .................................... 1
15% of EU citizens at risk of poverty ....................................... 1Poverty risk is a relative concept ...................................... 2Median at-risk-of-poverty gap . 3Persistent risk of poverty......... 3Changing the risk-of-poverty threshold over time................... 4
Some countries have a more equal distribution of income than others ................................ 5
Re-distributive effect of social transfers..................................... 5
More about theLaeken indicatorsof social inclusion. . 7
 Manuscript completed on: 7.09.2004 ISSN 1024-4352 Catalogue number: KS-NK-04-016-EN-N © European Communities, 2004
Poverty and social exclusion in the EU z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z
Common indicators for social inclusion
At the Nice European Council in December 2000, Heads of State and Government re-confirmed and implemented their March 2000 (Lisbon) decision that the fight against poverty and social exclusion would be best achieved by means of the open method of co-ordination. Key elements of this approach are the definition of commonly-agreed objectives for the European Union (EU) as a whole, the development of appropriate national action plans to meet these objectives, and the periodic reporting and monitoring of progress made.
It is in this context that the Laeken European Council in December 2001 endorsed a set of criteria and a first set of 18 common statistical indicators for social inclusion, which allow monitoring in a comparable way of Member States progress towards the agreed objectives. The list is under review by the Indicators Sub-Group of the Social Protection Committee to develop and refine its coverage. These indicators should be considered as a consistent set covering four important dimensions of social inclusion (financial poverty, employment, health and education).
The present publication provides an overview of the monetary indicators adopted in Laeken as applied to the old EU15 Member States, which (with the exception of Denmark and Sweden) have all been calculated on the basis of the pioneering European Community Household Panel (ECHP) survey (see Methodological notes, page 7). A parallel publication presents similar information compiled for the new Member States and Candidate Countries o (n 12/2004).
15% of EU citizens at risk of poverty
15% of the EU population were at risk of poverty in 2001, i.e. living in households with an equivalised disposable income (see methodological notes) below 60% of the median equivalised income of the country they live in. This figure, calculated as a weighted average of national results (where each country receives a weight that equals its total population), masks considerable variation between Member States - with the share of the population at risk of poverty ranging from 9% in Sweden to 21% in Ireland (see Figure 1 below and the statistical appendix).
25 % 20
15
10
5
0 SE DK DE NL FI LU
AT BE EU15 FR UK ES
IT
Figure 1: At-risk-of-poverty rate for 2001
EL
PT
IE
Un pour Un
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