The concepts described on these pages are words and expressions used in statistics with a specific, limited meaning. In everyday speech the word may have a different meaning. In connection with each definition you can find information about which sets of statistics use the concept.

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Severe material and social deprivation

The indicator for material and social deprivation describes shortages related to basic needs which arise from the household not being able to afford them. There are 13 basic needs. If a household has a shortage of at least seven of them, it is considered to experience severe material and social deprivation.

Some of basic needs are at household level and some at individual level. Shortages of basic needs measured at the household level include:
• capacity to being confronted with payment arrears (on mortgage or rental payments, utility bills, hire purchase instalments or other loan payments),
• capacity to face unexpected expenses,
• the household cannot afford a car
• the household cannot afford a protein-rich meal every second day
• the household cannot afford one week's annual holiday away from outside home,
• the household cannot afford to keep their home adequately warm,
• the household cannot afford to buy new furniture to replace broken ones.

At individual level, shortages of basic needs are as follows:
• no access to the Internet when needed,
• cannot afford to buy some new clothes to replace worn-out clothes,
• cannot afford two pairs of properly fitting shoes,
• cannot afford to spend a small amount of money each week on one's own expenses,
• cannot afford to have regular leisure activities outside home
• get together with relatives or friends for a coffee or meal at least once a month.

The components describing individual-level deprivation are collected in Finland for one household member (the so-called target person). If the respondent experiences shortage in some basic need, it is assumed to apply to the entire household.

The indicator for severe material and social deprivation has been revised at Eurostat in 2021. Statistics Finland's statistics on living conditions release data on material and social deprivation with the new definition starting from the releases for the statistical reference year 2020. Data according to the new definition are available in database tables starting from 2015. Time series data according to the old definition from 2005 to 2019 are available in the table archive. The change in the definition has an impact on the indicator describing at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Previously, the indicator was known as severe material deprivation. According to the old definition, deprivation of basic needs included experiencing payment difficulties on housing expenditures and loans, difficulty coping with unexpected financial expenses, the household cannot afford a telephone, washing machine, television, car, protein-rich meal every other day, one week's holiday per year outside home or keep their home warm enough. Measured by the old indicator, persons whose household experienced deprivation measured by at least four indicators out of nine were considered severely materially deprived.

Statistics using the definition

Validity of the definition

  • Valid until (31 December 2078)

Source organisation

  • Tilastokeskus