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Over 16% at risk of poverty or social exclusion, statistics show

State-owned number cruncher Statistics Finland says 890,000 Finnish residents were at risk of poverty or exclusion in 2017.

Vanha nainen katselee ikkunasta ulos.
Image: Arja Lento / Yle

Among all Finnish households, 16.4 percent were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2017, according to fresh figures from Statistics Finland. The agency found that most of the people in this group, 654,000 people, had low incomes, accounting for a 12.1 percent share of the total population.

Some 7.6 percent were found to be living in what the state agency defined as a 'low work intensity' household, and 2.6 percent were deemed to be suffering from severe material deprivation.

Finland's risk of poverty or social exclusion is lower than the European average, measured at 22.4 percent in 2016. Finland's 2017 figures place it at third from the bottom, comparatively. Even so, for young adults and people over 75 in Finland, the risk is on par with the European average. For children, people of working age and younger pensioners, however, the risk is considerably lower.

The EU hopes to reduce the number of persons living at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 20 million by the year 2020. In 2016, a total of 113 million persons were judged to face these risks in the EU.

Older people most lonely

Social exclusion is often linked to loneliness. In 2018, as part of a regular Survey on Income and Living Conditions, Statistics Finland asked people aged 16 and older how often they had felt lonely in the past four weeks. Respondents could answer one of the following: all the time, most of the time, some of the time, a little of the time and none of the time.

Some 179,000 people, or 4.0 percent of the population felt lonely all the time or most of the time last year.

Close to a million Finnish residents, or more than one-fifth of the population at 21.2 percent, reported feeling lonely all the time, most of the time, or some of the time.

People over the age of 75 were the loneliest, with 7.3 percent saying they were lonely all the time or most of the time, and 28.7 percent lonely at least some of the time.

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