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Published: 21 December 2015

Number of persons at risk of poverty decreased slightly in 2014

Statistics Finland's preliminary data on income distribution statistics indicate that the number of persons belonging to households at risk of poverty was 674,000 in 2014. This is around 16,000 fewer persons than in the year before. The share of persons at risk of poverty in the household population was 12.5 per cent, having been 12.8 per cent one year earlier.

Number of persons at risk of poverty in Finland in 1987 to 2014*

Number of persons at risk of poverty in Finland in 1987 to 2014*
* The data concerning 2014 are preliminary.

The number of persons at risk of poverty has remained, on average, slightly under 700,000 since 2009. During this time, households' equivalent median income, from which the at-risk-of-poverty threshold is calculated, has developed weakly. In 2013, median income dropped to EUR 23,830 per consumption unit, when one year earlier, it was EUR 24,010. The at-risk-of-poverty threshold for a one-person household was EUR 14,300 per month in 2014, that is, around EUR 1,190 per month, while in the year before, it was EUR 14,410 or EUR 1,200 per month.

At the same time, the median income of persons at risk of poverty has remained almost unchanged, but the average distance of income of persons at risk of poverty from the at-risk-of-poverty threshold has narrowed down from 14.1 to 13.4 per cent. Persons at risk of poverty describe the relative income differentials of medium-income and low-income groups, so the development of persons at-risk-of-poverty depends not only on the income development of low-income households, but also on the development of median income. Persons are classified as being at-risk-of-poverty when the household's disposable monetary income per consumption unit 1) is below 60 per cent of the national median income.

One-quarter of households have difficulties in making ends meet

In all, 640,000 households or 24.2 per cent of all households report experiencing at least some problems in making ends meet. This is 1.4 percentage points lower than in 2013. Of all households, 7.3 per cent or around 194,000 households have more serious difficulties in making ends meet. This is 0.4 percentage points less than one year earlier. The share of households experiencing difficulties in making ends meet has remained fairly stable in recent years. The share of households having experienced at least some difficulties was at its highest, 30 per cent, in 2003. The share of those having experienced more serious difficulties was also biggest then, around ten per cent.

1) The consumption units are based on the so-called OECD's modified scale. One adult in the household is one consumption unit. Other persons in the household aged at least 14 are 0.5 consumption units each and children aged 0 to 13 are 0.3 consumption units each. A household with one adult member is one consumption unit, while a household consisting of spouses and one child aged under 14 together are 1.8 consumption units.

Source: Income Distribution Statistics 2014, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kaisa-Mari Okkonen 029 551 3408

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


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Updated 21.12.2015

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Income distribution statistics [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-1331. Poverty 2014. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 1.6.2023].
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