Three in every five Greeks, or some 6.3 million people, were living in poverty or under the threat of poverty in 2013 due to material deprivation and unemployment, a report by parliament’s State Budget Office showed on Thursday.
Using data on household incomes and living conditions, the report – titled ‘Minimum Income Policies in the European Union and Greece: A Comparative Analysis’ – found that “some 2.5 million people are below the threshold of relative poverty, which is set at 60 per cent of the average household income”. It added that “3.8 million people are facing the threat of poverty due to material deprivation and unemployment”, resulting in a total of 6.3 million people.
The State Budget Office’s economists who drafted the report argued that in contrast with other European countries “which implement programs to handle social inequalities, Greece, which faces huge phenomena of extreme poverty and social exclusion, is acting slowly”. They added that there is high demand for social assistance, while its supply by the state is “fragmented and full of administrative malfunctions”.
In that context “the social safety net is inefficient, while there is no prospect for the recovery of income losses resulting from the economic recession in the near future”, the report noted, reminding readers that the measure of the minimum guaranteed income “arrived in Greece belatedly”.
According to Eurostat Greece ranks top among the 28 European Union countries in terms of poverty risk and also has the highest poverty share in the population (23.1 per cent). Greece also ranks fourth among EU states in poverty disparity, after Spain, Romania and Bulgaria.
Relative poverty is defined by the percentage of households earning less than 60 per cent of an average household’s income in 2013 (for one person that amounted to 432 euros per month and for a four-member family to 908 euros).