Bio-Socio/Anthropo English
2018-04-11 14:07:04
Vittorio Hernandez

Compared to other European Union nations, a new study published by Eurostat, the statistics body of EU, states that the risk of poverty in Malta is low. Employed people aged 18 and above were at 5.8 percent at risk of poverty.

It was 3.8 percent below the EU average and the eighth with the lowest percentage, Independent reported. The report considered persons at risk of poverty as individuals who live in a household with an equivalent disposable income below the risk of the poverty threshold. It was set at 60 percent of the national median equivalized disposable income after social transfers.

The final figure showed that 7.5 percent of males and 3.1 percent of females were at risk of poverty in Malta.  Other EU nations with higher rates of employed persons at the risk of poverty were 18.9 percent in Romania, 14.1 percent in Greece, 13.1 percent in Spain, and 12 percent in Luxembourg.

Longer life for women

However, a report by Xinhua net claimed that Maltese women face a higher risk of poverty but live longer. A study released on Wednesday by the National Statistics Office said that the life expectancy for Malta’s women averaged 84.4 years, while it was 80.6 years for men in 2016. They comprised 49.7 percent of the country’s headcount with an estimate at 228,634. However, of this number, the estimated number of women at risk of poverty or social exclusion was down to 42,587 from 51,298 in 2014.

There was a significant shift in the age group of women who were at the higher risk of poverty from those in the 0 to 17 age group in 2014 and 2015 to the 65 plus by 2016. They were the separated or widowed women who were at a higher risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Female students made up the bigger percentage, at 52.4 percent, of the number of students enrolled in post-secondary and tertiary education institutions during the 2015-16 academic years. The female students comprised the majority in the 15 to 24 age bracket with 51.9 percent, while those who finished at the tertiary level were 59.2 percent women.

Employment data

Meanwhile, the latest report from the Labor Force Survey said that the highest female employment rate in the 25-54 age bracket was 64.3 percent. But on the average, the employed female employee worked 35 hours a week, six hours less than the male employee, The Independent reported. However, the unemployment rate for women was almost one percentage point higher than for men at 5 percent. Women in the age group 15 to 24 have the highest unemployment rate at 10.9 percent.

Out of 164,815 households in Malta, 36 percent were headed by a woman who was the breadwinner, according to the Household Budgetary Survey 2015. When the household head was a male, the spending was higher by €4,496 ($5,537) compared to a household with a woman as the breadwinner.

Women-run households tended to spend bigger shares on housing, water, electricity, gas, other fuels, food, and non-alcoholic beverages. The men tended to spend more on transport, restaurants, and hotels.

Meanwhile, in November, data released by the statistics bureau of the European Union to mark Universal Children’s Day showed that 24 percent of Maltese aged 0 to 17 years were at risk of poverty in 2016, The Times of Malta reported. Compared to 2010, there was an overall drop from 26.7 percent which was higher at 32 percent in 2013. It gradually fluctuated to 31 percent in 2014 and 28 percent in 2015.

Beyond Malta, the data from Eurostat said that there were 24.8 million children in the EU or one-fourth of the bloc’s population aged below 18 who were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2017. The kids lived in households which were at risk of poverty after social transfers, severely materially deprived, or with very low work intensity.

Nevertheless, the proportion of kids at risk of poverty or social exclusion went down. The drop was from 27.5 percent in 2010 to 26.4 percent in 2016. Latvia recorded the biggest drop, followed by Poland, Ireland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Lithuania.

On the opposite end, the largest increases were reported in Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, and Italy.

The report noted the contrasting trends that were observed across the EU. More than 50 percent of the children in Romania and Bulgaria were at the risk of poverty or social exclusion. On the extreme end, 14 percent and 15 percent of children were in that position in Denmark and Finland respectively.

UK’s Labor Party, in a statement released on Thursday, said it was satisfied that the number of children below 18 at the risk of poverty or social exclusion went down by 6,000 under the political party. The government said it is encouraged to keep working on reducing the number which went up during the last parliament under a Nationalist government.

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