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EU-SILC 2021: Estimates of Material Deprivation and Housing Problems

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The European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey 2021 revealed that the material and social deprivation rate stood at 9.8 per cent, whereas the severe material and social deprivation rate stood at 5.5 per cent.

The European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions Survey (EU-SILC) is a harmonised statistical enquiry which aims to collect comparable data on income, health and disability, employment, and material deprivation. European statistics on material deprivation are based on the perceived capacity, or otherwise, of households to afford a number of items from a set of 13 standard items. These standard items were established at European level as the most relevant components for the measurement of material and social deprivation. From these components, two major constructs are derived from EU-SILC being the Material and Social Deprivation indicator and the Severe Material and Social Deprivation indicator.

 A person living in a household is deemed to be materially and socially deprived if this person does not afford at least five out of the 13 material and social deprivation items whereas those who do not afford at least seven of these items are considered to be severely materially and socially deprived. In 2021, the material and social deprivation rate stood at 9.8 per cent, whereas the severe material and social deprivation rate stood at 5.5 per cent, an increase of 0.4 percentage points in both rates when compared to 2020. 

With reference to specific deprivation items, 33.1 percent of the surveyed population stated that their household could not afford to pay for a one-week annual holiday away from home. Furthermore, 15.7 percent declared that their household would not be able to settle an unexpected financial expense of €770 and over. Moreover, 7.8 percent do not afford to keep the home adequately warm in winter and a further 7.8 percent of the respondents stated that their household was in arrears on mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase installments or other loan payments.

Personal indicators on material deprivation

In 2021, it was revealed that less than 6.1 percent of the surveyed population said that their household could not afford very basic needs, such as replacing worn-out clothes with new (not second-hand) ones, or owning two pairs of properly-fitting shoes (including a pair of all-weather shoes).

With reference to the indicators which reflect the quality of life, 7.7 percent indicated that they do not afford to get together with friends/family (relatives) for a drink/meal at least once a month, while 10.4 percent stated that they could not regularly participate in a leisure activity (such as sports or attending a concert). In each quality-of-life indicator, the percentage of females who could not afford an item was higher than the percentage of males (Table 3). In relation to the ability to spend small amounts of money each week for own use and the availability of internet connection for personal use at home, 11.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively declared that these are not afforded. The 35-64 year-old cohort had the highest percentage of persons who could not afford spending a small amount of money on themselves (12.9 percent) while 3.6 percent of those aged 65 and over could not afford an internet connection at home for personal use.

In 2021, 7.8 percent of children were living in severely materially and socially deprived households. Furthermore, 5.3 per cent of adults aged between 18-64 years and 4.0 per cent of those aged 65 years and over were also considered to be severely materially and socially deprived.

Problems with main dwelling

Households were also asked to state whether they were experiencing problems with their main dwelling. The most frequently reported problems in 2021 were pollution, grime or other environmental problems with 33.9 percent and noise from neighbours or from the street with 31.5 percent. Respectively, 10.2 percent and 9.9 percent of the responding households reported problems with crime, violence or vandalism in the area and with the dwelling being too dark or not sufficiently well lit.







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