Some 244,000 people in Cyprus were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2015, according to a survey on income and living conditions spanning the 2012-2015 period, published on Thursday by the Statistical Service.
This corresponded to 28.9 per cent of the population, compared to 27.4 per cent in 2014.
By comparison, in 2015 the EU risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate was 23.7 per cent.
The at-risk-of-poverty rate is the share of persons with an equivalised disposable income (after social transfer) below the risk-of-poverty threshold. It measures relative poverty and not absolute poverty.
In 2015 in Cyprus, the risk-of-poverty threshold – set at 60 per cent of the national median equivalised disposable income – was €8,276 per person per annum and €16,944 for households comprising two adults and two dependent aged under 14.
During the previous year, the same threshold registered at €8,640 and €18,418, respectively – indicating a decline in living standards going into 2015.
In the EU, the highest risk-of-poverty threshold was registered in Luxembourg at €21,162; the lowest threshold was in Romania at €1,388.
Up until 2012, the most vulnerable group in Cyprus had been persons aged 65 and over. This state of affairs was reversed in 2013.
According to the Statistical Service, this can be explained by a gradual decline in the disposable income of the largest share of the population, beginning in late 2011. As incomes among the general population fell, however, pensioners’ incomes remained stable.
In 2015, women were at slightly higher risk of poverty or social exclusion than men – 29.8 per cent to 28.1 per cent, respectively.
For the same year, 16.2 per cent of the population resided in households with incomes below the risk-of-poverty threshold. In 2014, the corresponding figure was 14.4 per cent of the population.
A total of 130,000 persons, or 15.4 per cent of the population, were severely materially deprived in 2015, compared to 15.3 per cent the year before.
In the EU overall, the rate of severely materially deprived persons was 8.1 per cent.
According the EU’s definition, the severely materially deprived is the population living in conditions severely constrained by a lack of resources, they experience at least four out of nine of the following deprivation items: cannot afford 1) to pay rent or utility bills, 2) keep home adequately warm, 3) face unexpected expenses, 4) eat meat, fish or a protein equivalent every second day, 5) a week holiday away from home, 6) a car, 7) a washing machine, 8) a colour TV, or 9) a telephone.