Over 68,000 Mal­tese live in house­holds whose in­comes put them on poverty line

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The Sta­tis­tics on In­come and Liv­ing Con­di­tions sur­vey re­vealed that dur­ing 2015, the mon­e­tary at-risk-of-poverty rate stood at 16.3 per cent. The atrisk-of-poverty or so­cial ex­clu­sion rate stood at 22.4 per cent.

The sur­vey gath­ers in­for­ma­tion on the in­come and liv­ing con­di­tions of house­holds re­sid­ing in Malta. This is a panel sur­vey (same sam­ple per­sons are fol­lowed for four years) and al­most 4,300 house­holds are in­cluded in the study.

The av­er­age house­hold gross in­come and the av­er­age house­hold dis­pos­able in­come stood at €31,429 and €25,960 re­spec­tively. These fig­ures were used for the com­pu­ta­tion of the me­dian Na­tional Equiv­alised In­come (NEI) and the mon­e­tary at-risk-of poverty thresh­old. The wealth (as­sets) of the house­hold and gains from trans­fer of such, are not a vari­able cov­ered by the sur­vey but in­come de­rived from such as­sets is in­cluded.

The NEI is de­fined as the house­hold’s to­tal dis­pos­able in­come di­vided by its “equiv­a­lent size”, to take into ac­count the size and age dis­tri­bu­tion of the house­hold. The S80/S20 ra­tio, which com­pares the NEI-based earn­ings of the high­est and low­est 20 per cent in­come earn­ers, stood at 4.2.

The at-risk-of-poverty thresh­old cor­re­sponds to the 60 per cent of the me­dian NEI. This rose by 5.5 per cent when com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year, mainly driven by an in­crease in em­ploy­ment in­come, reach­ing €8,096. This is the level of the per­sons’ equiv­alised in­come of a house­hold, be­low which the per­sons in that house­hold are con­sid­ered at-risk of-poverty. The sur­vey showed that 68,658 per­sons liv­ing in pri­vate house­holds, or 16.3 per cent, had an equiv­alised in­come be­low this thresh­old.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate among per­sons aged be­low 18 years of age stood at 23.4 per cent. This rate stood at 21.0 per cent for per­sons aged 65 years and over. Per­sons liv­ing in sin­gle par­ent house­holds were found to be more sus­cep­ti­ble to be­ing at-risk-of-poverty. In fact, 45.3 per cent of these per­sons had an NEI be­low the at-risk-of poverty thresh­old.

Dif­fer­ences re­main in the atrisk-of-poverty rates be­tween house­holds with and with­out de­pen­dent chil­dren as dur­ing the past years. In this re­gard, fig­ures stood at 18.4 and 14.1 per cent re­spec­tively for 2015.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate was found to de­crease with in­creas­ing house­hold work in­ten­sity. In­deed, 69.1 per cent of those liv­ing in house­holds with very low work in­ten­sity were at-riskof-poverty com­pared with only 1.9 per cent for those liv­ing in house­holds with very high work in­ten­sity.

The se­vere ma­te­rial de­pri­va­tion rate stood at 8.1 per cent. More than 40.0 per cent were liv­ing in house­holds which claimed that not all the house­hold mem­bers could af­ford to pay for a one-week an­nual hol­i­day away from home. In ad­di­tion, 21.1 per cent said that they could not af­ford to face un­ex­pected fi­nan­cial ex­penses, while 13.9 per cent said that they could not af­ford to keep their home ad­e­quately warm in win­ter.

In a state­ment the govern­ment said that, for the first time in ten years there was a re­duc­tion in the poverty and so­cial ex­clu­sion rates. “To­day’s fig­ures have shown that the re­duc­tion is now more con­sis­tent”.

The govern­ment said the poverty rate was now just un­der half a per­cent­age point less than last year.

On the other hand, the rate had in­creased from 20% to 24% (+18,000) un­der the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion. This was the very op­po­site of that ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pledge to re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple who were at risk of poverty by 6,560.

“Progress has fi­nally been made with a re­duc­tion of 5,000 peo­ple from the list.” The govern­ment said it will con­tinue to ad­dress the is­sue in the up­com­ing bud­get.

On the other hand the Na­tion­al­ist Party said the NSO sta­tis­tics con­firmed that the num­ber of peo­ple who were at risk of poverty in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly un­der Joseph Mus­cat’s pre­mier­ship.

“The PL used to say be­fore the last gen­eral elec­tion that there were 88,000 peo­ple at risk of poverty. That num­ber now stands at 94,250 – an in­crease of more than 6,000. In Labour’s first year in power the num­ber shot up to 100,000 and, al­though it has now gone down, the num­ber is still greater than it was be­fore the elec­tion.”

The PN said that food prices had shot up – this had been con­firmed by the re­cent Car­i­tas re­port. The con­tents of the re­port have now been con­firmed by the NSO sta­tis­tics.

“Mus­cat has no in­ter­est in ad­dress­ing the chal­lenges these fam­i­lies are fac­ing as he is more in­ter­ested in his friends who have se­cret com­pa­nies in Panama,” the PN said.

“On the other hand PN Leader Si­mon Busut­til has al­ready started ex­plain­ing his vi­sion on how low-in­come fam­i­lies and those at risk of poverty will ex­pe­ri­ence im­prove­ment. This in­cludes bet­ter rent sub­si­dies and the low­er­ing of rent fees.”

The state­ment was signed by So­cial Pol­icy shadow min­is­ter Paula Mif­sud Bon­nici and MPs Robert Cu­ta­jar and Stephen Spi­teri.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.