Disability: higher risk of poverty or social exclusion

A significant number of people in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and those with disabilities face an increased risk.

In 2021, 21.7 % of the EU population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, i.e. lived in households experiencing at least one of the three poverty and social exclusion risks (risk of poverty, severe material and social deprivation and/or living in a household with very low work intensity).

People with disabilities were at higher risk of poverty or social exclusion: 29.7 % of the EU population aged 16 or more with a disability (activity limitation) was at risk of poverty or social exclusion compared with 18.8 % of those with no disability.

This was also the case among all the EU Member States. The widest absolute gap between the shares for people with and without a disability was in Ireland (39.3 % for people with a disability compared with 14.6 % for people with no disability, which corresponds to a 24.7 percentage point difference), followed by Latvia (41.2% compared with 19.6 %; 21.6 pp) and Lithuania (38.9 % compared with 17.8%; 21.1 pp).

At the other end of the scale, the smallest difference between the shares of people was recorded in Greece (28.3 % for people with a disability compared with 27.4 % for people with no disability; 0.9 pp), followed by Italy (27.1 % compared with 24.3 %; 2.8 pp) and Finland (18.5 % compared with 12.6 %; 5.9 pp).

To read more on these topics, we recommend the newly updated Statistics Explained articles focused on: financial situation, housing conditions, poverty and income inequalities.

For more information:

Methodological notes:

  • Italy and Poland: provisional.
  • Disability is defined as a limitation for at least the past six months in activities people usually do because of health problems.

www.ec.europa.eu/eurostat/