Sweden has EU's lowest proportion of people living in serious poverty

TT/The Local
TT/The Local - [email protected]
Sweden has EU's lowest proportion of people living in serious poverty
A person sleeping outside in central Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin / TT

Sweden has the EU's lowest proportion of people living in serious poverty, with around one percent of the population falling into that category according to national statistics agency SCB.


That corresponds to around 100,000 people, and is well below the EU-average of seven percent of the population.

"Even though there is little difference compared to Norway, Switzerland and a few other countries, Sweden now has the lowest level of material poverty," said Philip Andö, an SCB statistician.

"When it comes to material poverty, the unemployed are the group that stand out most, with a proportion of eight percent (living in poverty) compared to one percent for the general population."

Living in serious material poverty is defined as being unable to afford four out of nine items considered important for a good quality of life, including rent, heating of housing, unexpected expenses, holidays, and regularly eating meat or another protein.

In Sweden, the proportion of people who meet these criteria has remained stable at around one percent over recent years, with a decline of around one percentage point over the past decade. 

But there are discrepancies between different demographic groups.

The proportion of those living in serious material poverty is higher among the unemployed and foreign-born residents than among the general population.

Across the EU, Bulgaria and Greece are the countries where the most people live in serious material poverty, with 30 and 21 percent of their respective populations falling into the category.

When it comes to 'risk of poverty', which is a separate measurement, Sweden is ranked worse than several European countries. This measure looks at how many people have an income below 60 percent of the country's median income, which in Sweden is 140,000 kronor after tax.

Among the over-65 age group, around 65 percent earn below this threshold, a much higher proportion than in many other European countries.

READ ALSO: Child poverty is falling in Sweden, but social gaps are growing


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also