Czech Republic has Lowest Poverty Rates in EU

According to a new ONS report, the country has the lowest poverty levels across Europe

Dave Park

Written by Dave Park Published on 20.05.2015 15:24:44 (updated on 20.05.2015) Reading time: 1 minute

The UK’s Office for National Statistics has released a report today on poverty and persistent poverty across all EU countries, coming to the conclusion that while the UK features some of the higher poverty rates in Europe, they are also among the lowest levels of persistent poverty – meaning most people living in poverty in the UK tend not to stay there long-term. 

But the report also showcases some revealing statistics for the Czech Republic, which features the lowest rates of both poverty and persistent poverty across all EU countries. 

In both categories, which measured poverty statistics from 2013, the Czech Republic was followed by Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Slovakia. Greece and Romania had the highest poverty levels among EU countries. 

Poverty rates across the EU as percentage of the total population (2013 figures):

Source: Office for National Statistics
Source: Office for National Statistics


Poverty here is defined in terms of income relative to a nation’s average income. A person is considered to be in poverty if they live in a household with a disposable income less than 60% of the national median. 

Persistent poverty is defined as living in poverty for both the current year and two of the three years prior.

Looking back at the years 2010-2013, the Czech Republic featured the lowest levels of number of years in poverty, followed by Netherlands, Slovenia, Finland, and France. 

Years in poverty across the EU as a percentage of total population (2010-13):

Source: Office for National Statistics
Source: Office for National Statistics

The figures are somewhat surprising coming after an OECD study that found that the Czech Republic had the toughest minimum wage – among OECD countries, the Czech Republic has the lowest minimum wage based on the median national wage. 

That suggests, perhaps, that most Czech residents are earning above the minimum wage levels set by the government.

Or that the median national income is low enough for most to avoid the poverty classification.

Click here to read the full study by the ONS.

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