Poverty in Austria

As of 2010, 16.4 percent of the European population, 80 million people, was considered poor and lived below the poverty threshold.

The definition of being impoverished (or at high risk of being impoverished) is: households where the household income is less than 60 percent of the total median income.

According to the EU Social Report 2012 statistics, 1.2 million people were at risk of poverty in Austria, meaning that 14.4 percent of the Austrian population was in danger of poverty.

The report also declared that about 1.5 million people were either at risk of poverty in Austria or were in danger of being debarred from society (about 18.5 percent) in Austria. In the European Union, 124.5 million people (24.8 percent of the population) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

This 18.5 percent all fit at least one of the following conditions: not able to afford basic expenses, not able to pay their monthly bills, not having funds to eat meat or fish every other day, not able to afford a holiday, not able to pay for a car, not able to afford heating costs, or those who cannot pay for items such as a TV, telephone or washing machine.

Single-parent families are predominantly at risk of poverty, especially single women without an income. 36.9 percent of single-parent households were affected by poverty in 2010. The significant amount of poverty in single-parent families is because of their resources being based on only one income.

In the European Union, the poverty rate of women is higher than of men: it is at 17.1 percent against 15.7 percent for men. Austria has one of the highest gender gaps of poverty in the European Union.

The elderly in Austria are also at a great risk of poverty. 15.9 percent of Europeans 65 years or older are living in poverty. Austria has a significant gap between the general poverty rate and the elderly poverty rate.

Those who are not citizens are also at risk of poverty in Austria. The poverty rate of immigrants born outside the European Union is at 26.9 percent, versus 14.8 percent for those Europeans living in their country of origin. These differences can be due to many different factors. In some countries, some jobs may be forbidden for foreigners or immigrants.

-Colleen Moore

Sources: Austrian Times, Inequality Watch
Photo: Spiegal