Social exclusion and poverty

A person might experience social exclusion if he or she lives at risk of poverty, or below the subsistence minimum, is severely materially deprived or lives in a household where the working-age members have very low work intensity. A low income might contribute to social exclusion: a person cannot afford dwelling essentials or durables, such as to pay rent or utilities, eat nutritious food, take a holiday away from home or buy a car, washing machine or phone.

To measure social exclusion and to identify the socioeconomic characteristics of people living in social exclusion, Statistics Estonia publishes data for the following indicators:

  • at-risk-of-poverty and absolute poverty rates;
  • deprivation;
  • participation in the labour market and work intensity of household;
  • households with payment difficulties.

All European Union member states use Laeken indicators to measure social exclusion. The indicators allow comparing the developments in Estonia with those in other countries.

Deprivation rate 6.2 %
Gini coefficient 0.32
Persistent at-risk-of-poverty rate 14.5 %
Long-term unemployment rate 1.3 %
Very long-term unemployment rate 0.4 %
Share of persons with bad or very bad health in the lowest income quintile 27.2 %

Number of people living in absolute poverty rose by two and a half times

According to Statistics Estonia, 22.5% of Estonia’s population lived at risk of poverty and 3.5% in absolute poverty in 2022. Compared with 2021, the share of people living at risk of poverty decreased by 0.3 percentage points and the share of people living in absolute poverty increased by 2.1 percentage points.
Read more 10. November 2023