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Study: Finland has lowest percentage of working poor in EU

Eurostat finds that Finland has the lowest incidence of in-work poverty in the European Union. The 2016 proportion of employed persons at risk of poverty in the EU was just short of 10 percent.

EU:n lippuja komission päämajan edustalla Brysselissä.
EU headquarters in Brussels Image: Olivier Hoslet / EPA

Finland edged out the other 27 EU countries in a new study of in-work poverty from the European statistics keeper Eurostat. The report reveals that 3.1 percent of the employed persons over 18 years of age in Finland were at risk of poverty in 2016, after accounting for the various forms of social assistance.

This compares to Romania, where the percentage is three times higher, at 18.9 percent. Sweden has a proportion of 6.7 percent, while Estonia was found to have an in-work poverty rate of 9.6 percent.

The EU average is 9.6 percent, and the largest countries in the union such as France, Britain and Germany hover around this mark. The country with the largest increase since the last 2010 study of in-work poverty was Hungary. The most improvement in this area was noted in Lithuania.

Eurostat defines persons at risk of poverty as those living in a household with a disposable income below the risk-of-poverty threshold. This is set at 60 percent of the national median disposable income, after any social assistance payments.

According to the study, the risk of poverty is greatly influenced by the type of work contract in question. Those working part-time were twice as likely to be at risk as full-time workers, while temp workers were three times as likely. This might be one reason behind Finland's performance in the evaluation, as there are fewer part-time and temporary positions available on the Finnish job market, comparatively.

Eurostat also found that employed men were slightly more at risk of poverty than employed women in the EU. In Finland 3.3 percent of men were considered at risk, compared with just 2.9 percent of women.

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