BR Analysis. More than 4 million Romanians escaped extreme poverty during the last decade, but many are still at risk

Sorin Melenciuc 12/09/2018 | 07:00

The number of Romanians living in extreme poverty declined by 4.15 million between 2007 and 2017, as rising employment and wages offered more opportunities to the less fortunate people, but many remain at risk, according to Business Review calculations based on Eurostat data.

In 2007, more than 8 million Romanians were considered “severely materially deprived”, a measure of extreme poverty in the European Union countries, but the number declined to 3.88 million in 2017.

This means that more than 4.1 million people in Romania have escaped extreme poverty during the last decade.

The number of „severely materially deprived people” in Romania decreased almost constantly during the last decade, with the exception of 2012, when the number rose following the financial crisis.

In 2017, the number of Romanians living in extreme poverty declined by 827,000, from 4.7 million persons, Eurostat series suggest.

However, one in five Romanians (19.7 percent) is still considered severely materially deprived, the third highest rate among the 28 European Union member states, after Bulgaria (30 percent) and Greece (21.1 percent).

In the EU, only 6.7 percent of total population was considered severely materially deprived.

The indicator is defined as the percentage of population with an enforced lack of at least three out of nine material deprivation items in the ‘economic strain and durables’ dimension.

Many at risk

But many Romanians who escaped severe poverty are still at risk of poverty or social exclusion in case of economic downturn, EU official data show.

Last year, more than 1 out of 3 Romanians (35.7 percent) were considered “at risk of poverty or social exclusion”. This means that 7.04 million people in the country are at risk of poverty or severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity, according to Eurostat definition.

In the EU, only Bulgaria has a larger percentage of population at risk of poverty or social exclusion (38.9 percent).

Last year, around 650,000 Romanians escaped this status, benefiting more or less from economic growth, Eurostat data indicates.

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