EU Risk of poverty decreases as work intensity increases


Work intensity reflects how much all working-age household members (less than 65 years) have worked as compared to their full potential. Generally, the higher the work intensity within a household (the closer people are to full employment), the lower the probability of being at risk of poverty. Work intensity is shown with three levels, ranging from very low, to medium and very high.

2021 data for the EU shows that employment helped prevent people from falling into poverty. The at-risk-of-poverty rate was 62.2 % for people aged less than 65 years living in households with very low work intensity as compared to 5.4 % for those in households with very high work intensity. For people in households with medium work intensity the percentage was 23.6 %.

Across all EU members, a similar pattern was observed, meaning that risk-of -poverty decreased as work intensity increased.

For more information:

Methodological notes: 

  • Poland: provisional data.
  • Work intensity: the ratio of the total number of months that all working-age household members have worked during the income reference year and the total number of months the same household members theoretically could have worked in the same period.
  • Work intensity is considered very low when the adults of the household have a working time equal to or less than 20% of their total combined work-time potential during the previous year. Conversely, it is considered very high when the adults’ working time exceeds 85% of the work-time potential.