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Poverty threat grows among Finland's young

Figures released by the central statistics office on Friday show that those aged 18-24 in Finland are the only group whose risk of poverty has risen over the past decade – with students forming the biggest bloc.

Opiskelijamielenosoitus Oulun Rotuaarin aukiolla.
Opiskelijat osoittivat Oulussakin mieltään hallituksen suunnittelemia koulutusleikkauksia vastaan. Poliitikkojen vaalien alla tekemää koulutuslupausta ei päästetty unohtumaan. Image: Timo Sipola / Yle

According to Statistics Finland, people in their upper teens and early 20s are the only segment of society whose poverty levels increased from 2007 to 2014. Meanwhile the at-risk-of-poverty rate of those aged 25-34 surged by nearly four percentage points, in relative terms most of all age groups during that time period, the bureau said on Friday.

In 2014 – the latest year for which full data is available – nearly three in 10 aged 18-24 were classified as low-income – and two thirds of these were students. Among the older age group of 25-to-34-year-olds, 30 percent were studying while nearly as many were unemployed.

Less risk of poverty among over-65s

The silver lining seems to be that the risk of poverty declined during this seven-year period for senior citizens in Finland. The proportion of people aged 65-74 at risk of poverty dipped from almost 17 percent to just over eight percent. Among the oldest demographic, the rate also edged down but remained worrying high at over 22 percent.

The state data office places the at-risk-of-poverty threshold at 60 percent of national median income.

For a single person two years ago the danger threshold was 14,300 euros a year or just under 1200 per month, after taxes. In other words, if you have to get by on less than 38 euros a day, you are officially considered to be in the poverty risk group in Finland.

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