Malta lowers deprivation rates amidst European surge

One in seven people who were in a situation of severe material deprivation in Malta in 2022 were lifted out of it during 2023.

Figures released by the National Statistics Office reveal that last year the number of persons in a situation of severe material deprivation in Malta fell by 3,517. This means that one in seven people who were in this situation in 2022 were lifted out of it during 2023.

In contrast, Eurostat figures show that across Europe there has been an increase in the number of those in severe material deprivation. Looking at the countries with the greatest increase in absolute poverty, the two that stand out the most are Spain and Germany. In Spain there was an increase of 662,000 people in this situation, while in Germany the rise was of 594,000. Looking instead at the biggest increase in percentage terms, this occurred in Denmark where there was an increase of more than half, or 54%, in those in absolute poverty. In Finland too, there was a sharp increase, of 45%, while in Slovenia there was a 41% growth. Even a country with a world-leading welfare system, Sweden, saw an increase in the most vulnerable last year. 

People in severe material deprivation
20222023
Belgium662,000701,000
Czechia211,000284,000
Denmark185,000286,000
Germany5,127,0005,721,000
Spain3,554,0004,216,000
Slovenia29,00041,000
Slovakia338,000375,000
Finland102,000148,000
Sweden214,000231,000
Source: Eurostat

According to the NSO, the proportion of those in severe material deprivation in Malta is 4.1%. In contrast, in Germany the ratio is 6.9%, whereas in Spain the proportion is more than double that in Malta, as it stands at 9%.

The result achieved in Malta in 2023 was the best ever observed in th country. The previous record was that of 2017, when the rate was 4.3%.

Eurostat figures indicate that the proportion of Germans having trouble paying their bills has increased from 5.9% to 8.1%, while in Malta the ratio has decreased from 6.1% to 5.7%. In Finland the proportion of those with problems paying bills rose to 9.5%, from 7.7% a year earlier. Even in Sweden, the proportion of those who are not keeping up with bills has grown to 6.7%, from 6.2%, while in Spain the proportion of the population with problems in this respect is 13.6%, or almost two and a half times that in Malta.

Malta is the only country in Europe where the price of energy and fuels has been kept stable, while since 2020 across the euro area there has been a 43% increase in the price of electricity and 24% in the price of fuel. This has led to an increase in the proportion of the European population unable to keep up with their bills.

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