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Hungary among EU countries with highest poverty rates

Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, has published its estimates for 2017 about the deprivation of societies in member states. Hungary is ranked among the highest in terms of poverty rates.

According to the methodology used by Eurostat, those severely deprived cannot afford at least four of the following items, which are considered by most people to be desirable or necessary to lead an adequate life:
-    to pay their bills on time;
-    to keep their home adequately warm;
-    to meet unexpected expenses;
-    eat meat (or fish or the vegetarian equivalent) regularly;
-    take a one week holiday away from home;
-    a TV;
-    a washing machine;
-    a car;
-    a telephone.

The average rate of severely materially deprived people across the whole EU was down to 6.7% in 2017 from 7.5% in 2016. Around 33 million people are in this situation in the EU, according to early estimates for 2017. The 2017 data continues a downward trend in the proportion of persons severely materially deprived since its peak of 9.9% in 2012. The most affected are single adult households, with a severe material deprivation rate of 9.6%. It stands at 14.3% for a household comprised of a single adult with children. For households where two or more adults are present, the rates are significantly lower: 5.2% without children and 6.1% with children.

As for specific countries, the severe material deprivation rate increased in Denmark from 2.6% in 2016 to 3.1% in 2017. The largest decreases are registered in Romania (from 23.8% in 2016 to 19.4% in 2017, or -4.4 pp), followed by Italy (from 12.1% to 9.2%, or -2.9 pp), Croatia (from 12.5% to 10.3%, or -2.2 pp), Bulgaria (from 31.9% to 30%, or -1.9 pp) and Cyprus (from 13.6% to 11.7%, or -1.9 pp). 

Bulgaria (30%), Greece (21.1%), Romania (19.4%) and Hungary (14.5%) register the highest shares of severe material deprivation. In contrast, the severe material deprivation rates were below 3% in Sweden (0.8% in 2016), Luxembourg (1.6% in 2016), Finland (2%) and the Netherlands (2.6%), Eurostat says.