Cyprus Mail

Risk of poverty for single parents high

Single parents demonstrate for better rights earlier this year

The risk of poverty or exclusion among lone parents is very high in Cyprus compared to the rest of the EU, a new study by the European Institute for Gender Equality reveals.

In general, having a child or several children impacts on the poverty rates of the household. In 2014, lone parents (46 per cent) and couples with three or more children (31 per cent) were most likely to be affected by poverty.

In 2014, every second lone parent in the EU encountered poverty or social exclusion. The poverty rate of lone parents is higher in all dimensions compared to that of the total population. Additionally, over 6 per cent of lone parents are simultaneously experiencing monetary poverty, low work intensity and severe material deprivation.

The risk of poverty or exclusion among lone parents is very different across the EU, varying from 35 per cent in Slovakia, Finland and Sweden to 58 per cent in Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland and the United Kingdom, and 69 per cent in Bulgaria.

The gaps between the poverty rates of couples with children and lone parents are significant and stand at up to 38 percentage points in Cyprus and the United Kingdom. At the other end of the spectrum, the smallest gaps are found in Greece and Italy with 12 and 16 percentage points respectively.

It has been proposed that lone parents living with other adults are more protected from poverty if income is shared within the household.

According to the study, one of the reasons behind living in such households may be the fact that housing costs are high for lone parents: in 2014, single persons with dependent children on average spent 34 per cent of their total disposable income on housing while the total population on average spends 23 per cent. There are large country differences, as the housing costs for these households range from 16 per cent in Malta and 24 per cent in Cyprus to 57 per cent in Greece.

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