Press Release

23.3 % of Latvia population at risk of poverty

Data of the survey conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) in 2018 show that 446 thousand persons or 23.3 % of Latvia population were at risk of poverty1 in 2017 – 1.2 percentage points more than in 2016. Equivalent income of this part of the population2 were below at-risk-of-poverty threshold.

In 2017, as disposable income of the population grew, also at-risk-of-poverty threshold went up – to 367 euros monthly per one-person household (330 euros monthly in 2016). In households consisting of two adults with two children aged under 14 years in 2017 at-risk-of-poverty threshold reached 770 euros monthly (in 2016– 694 euros monthly).

The largest share of population at-risk-of-poverty was in Latgale (44.2 %) and the smallest – in Riga (15.6 %). In Vidzeme 29.0 % of population were at-risk-of-poverty, in Zemgale – 25.0 %, in Kurzeme – 24.8 % and in Pierīga – 16.9 % of population.

The share of population at-risk-of-poverty was the largest within the single elderly population age group over 65 years. In 2017 their share comprised 74 % (in 2016 – 72.8 %). Another largest at-risk-of-poverty rate was in single parent families (one adult with children) (32.6 %), among persons aged under 64 years living alone (31 %) and in large families (couple with three or more children) (20.7 %).

The lowest at-risk-of-poverty rate was among employed persons (8.1 % in 2017 and 8.8 % in 2016). In turn, significantly higher at-risk-of-poverty rate was faced by unemployed persons (59.5 % in 2017 and 56.5 % in 2016) and retired (48.9 % in 2017 and 43.7 % in 2016).

Over the last years impact of social transfers to population income is reducing. In 2017, support provided by social transfers has lowered share of population at-rate-of-poverty by 15.8 percentage points. If social transfers would not exist, 39.1 % of population would be at risk of poverty. In 2016, social transfers reduced at-risk-of-poverty by 17.8 percentage points, in 2015 and 2014 – by 18.4 percentage points.

More information on poverty of population and social exclusion risks is available in informative leaflet "At risk of poverty or social exclusion in Latvia" and in CSB database section “Monetary poverty and income inequalty (EU-SILC)".

The data source of the relative poverty and social exclusion indicators is the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey of 2018 conducted by the CSB. The survey covered 6 thousand households and 10.8 thousand respondents aged 16 and over. The CSB will collect data on the household poverty risk in 2018 within the framework of the survey of 2019, and respondents will have a possibility to fill in the questionnaire online.


Methodological explanations

The CSB monetary poverty and social exclusion indicators on 2017 reflect the information on population income received in 2017. Unlike the approach used by the CSB, Eurostat (Statistical Office of European Union) publishes monetary poverty and social exclusion indicators with a reference to the year the survey was conducted, nevertheless the population income data included in the indicator are compiled on the previous calendar year. On 15 January 2019, Eurostat published EU-SILC 2017 results reflecting poverty and social exclusion statistics, the Latvian income and poverty risk data presented covered the year 2016.

1At-risk-of-poverty rate – share of persons with equivalised disposable income below 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income.

At-risk-of-poverty threshold represents 60 % of the median equivalised disposable income.

Median is a statistical indicator characterising central value (midpoint of the breakdown) of the observations grouped from the lowest value to the highest.

2Disposable (net) income – cash income from labour, employee income in kind received by using company car for private needs estimated in cash, income or losses received from self-employment, pensions and benefits received, regular material assistance from other households, profit from  deposit interest, dividends, shares, income received by children aged under 16, income from property rental,  tax return from the State Revenue Service due to overpaid income tax (for business activities, eligible costs – education, medical treatment, etc.).

Equivalent disposable (net) income – household disposable income calculated per equivalent consumer. It is obtained by dividing household income by equivalised household size, which is made using the modified OECD equivalence scale (1.0; 0.5; 0.3). This scale gives a weight of 1.0 to the first adult, 0.5 to any other household member aged 14 and over, and 0.3 to each child aged less than 14.

3Social transfers are pensions and benefits paid by the State or municipality, child maintenance payments, scholarships, social insurance benefits and compensations, including the ones paid by other countries.


Media requests:
Communication Section

: +371 67366621, +371 27880666

More information on data:
Social Statistics Methodology Section
Viktors Veretjanovs
Phone: +371 67366609


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