According to Eurostat data for 2021, 29.4% of children and young people under the age of 18 are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

The average for the EU, by comparison, is 24.4%. The highest risk is noted in Romania, at 41.5%, followed by Spain (33.5%), and Bulgaria (33%). The risk is also higher in Greece (32%) and Italy (29.7%) than it is in Luxembourg.

On the other end of the spectrum are Slovenia (11%), Finland (13.2%), and Czechia (13.3%).


© Eurostat

Defining the risk

To understand what this means, we must look at how Eurostat define "poverty or social exclusion." The poverty aspect is defined as living in a household where with an equivalised disposable income below 60% of the national median equivalised disposable income. This is measured in Purchasing Power Standards, or PPS, a unit that takes into account price-level differences between countries.

If we look at the year 2020, Luxembourg's PPS was 28,675 and thus the highest in the European Union, where the average was 17,871, and the lowest PPS of 7,724 was to be found in Romania. That wages are high in Luxembourg is not news - Luxembourg is known to have the highest minimum wage, and according to Statec (Luxembourg's national statistics institute) the median household income for that same year was €4,897.

By European standards, a child in Luxembourg can thus live in a household with a relatively high wage - but low for Luxembourg - and be categorised as living in relative poverty. This, in essence, points to an issue of income distribution.

The other factors taken into account for poverty or social exclusion are being 'severely materially and socially deprived' - which is an indicator showing the enforced lack of necessary and desirable items needed to lead an adequate life - and living in a household with low work intensity, i.e. where members of working age worked to 20% of their work-time capacity or less in the previous year.

You can read the full Eurostat report here.