At-risk-of-poverty rate

Updated: 5 Mar 2021
Next update: 15 Dec 2021

Low-income earners (persons at risk of poverty) are considered those whose household's total disposable money income per consumption unit (so-called equivalent income) is lower than 60 per cent of the equivalent median income of all households. The proportion of those below this income threshold is called at-risk-of-poverty rate. The euro-denominated threshold for low income varies by year.


Students at risk of poverty have increased somewhat in the 2010s

At the beginning of the 2010s, the share of students at risk of poverty was 27.7 per cent and at the end of the decade 30.3 per cent. The at-risk-of-poverty rate of unemployed persons has varied considerably over the decade, but at the end of the decade the rate was almost on level with 2010, over 40 per cent. The at-risk-of-poverty rate of the entire population has fallen since the beginning of the decade. These data derive from Statistics Finland’s income distribution statistics sample.

When interpreting the development of risk of poverty among students, it should be borne in mind that withdrawals of student loans are not included in income. Student loans absent from the income concept has increased their significance for students' livelihood: According to the Social Insurance Institution's statistics, the number of students having withdrawn student loans has grown by around 60 per cent and the average size of a student loan withdrawn has grown by about 80 per cent from 2010 to 2019.

In other socio-economic groups, changes in the at-risk-of-poverty rate have either been falling or the rates have remained unchanged. Among large population groups, the at-risk-of-poverty rate of pensioners in particular has fallen from 2010 when it was 19.3 per cent to 2019 when it was 15.1 per cent. A total of 215,000 persons belonged to pensioner households at risk of poverty, that is, one-third of persons at risk of poverty were pensioners in 2019. The decrease in the risk of poverty among pensioners is explained by the fact that persons who retired in the 2010s have bigger employment pensions than in the previous generations.

Altogether 669,000 persons, or 12.3 per cent of the household population, were at risk of poverty in 2019. At the beginning of the decade, 13.7 per cent of the population, or 728,000 persons, were at risk of poverty. – More information about the at-risk-of-poverty rates of socio-economic groups in the database table.