Press Release

Decline in population at risk of poverty

Data of the survey conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) in 2019 show that 434 thousand persons or 22.9 % of the population of Latvia were at risk of poverty1 in 2018 – 0.4 percentage points less than in 2017. Disposable income2 of this share of population was below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold.

Drop in the at-risk-of-poverty rate was facilitated by the rise in minimum wage (from EUR 380 in 2017 to EUR 430 in 2018), changes in legislation on social benefits (recalculation of separate pensions, greater support to foster families and families having two and more children), as well as changes in population income tax application.

In 2018, as disposable income of the population grew, at-risk-of-poverty threshold went up as well – to EUR 409 monthly in single person households (EUR 367 monthly in 2017) and to EUR 860 monthly in households consisting of two adults with two children aged under 14 (EUR 770 monthly in 2017).

The largest share of population at risk of poverty was registered in Latgale (40.4 %) and the smallest in Pierīga and Riga (14.4 % and 16.1 %, respectively). In Vidzeme 34.6 % of population were at risk of poverty, in Kurzeme 27.0 % and in Zemgale 21.7 %.

At-risk-of-poverty rate is declining among children and stays stable among elderly population

At-risk-of-poverty rate in single-parent and large families has reduced significantly, compared to the year before. In 2018, 26.2 % of families consisting of one adult with children (32.6 % in 2017) and 16.7 % of large families consisting of two adults with three or more children (20.7 % in 2017) were at risk of poverty. For the fifth year in a row at-risk-of-poverty rate among children aged 17 and under has been reducing (in 2018 it constituted 14.5 % and in 2017 – 17.5 %).

The highest at-risk-of-poverty rate may still be observed among single elderly population aged 65 and over. In 2018, this share constituted 74.9 % (in 2017 those were 74.0 %). The second highest at-risk-of-poverty rate was registered among single persons aged 64 and under – 31.7 % (31.0 % in 2017).

The lowest at-risk-of-poverty rate was recorded among working population (8.5 % in 2018 and 8.1 % in 2017). Significantly higher at-risk-of-poverty risk was observed among unemployed population (57.7 % in 2018 and 59.5 % in 2017) and pensioners (52.5 % in 2018 and 48.9 % in 2017).

Over the last years, influence of social transfers3 on the population income has been declining. However, in 2018 this influence increased again. In 2018, support received from social transfers reduced the share of people at risk of poverty by 16.4 percentage points. Without social transfers 39.3 % of people would be at risk of poverty. In 2017, social transfers diminished risk of poverty by 15.8 percentage points and in 2016 by 17.8 percentage points.

More information on poverty and social exclusion risks is available in the informative leaflet People at Risk of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Latvia in 2018 (in Latvian) and CSB database section Monetary poverty and income inequality.

Poverty and social exclusion indicators are acquired with the help of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey 2019 conducted by the CSB. The survey covered 5.3 thousand households and 9.6 thousand respondents aged 16 and over. The CSB will collect data on household poverty risk in 2019 within the framework of the survey of 2020, and respondents will have the possibility to fill in the questionnaire online.


Methodological explanations

The CSB monetary poverty and social exclusion indicators on 2018 reflect population income received in 2018. 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 complied on the previous calendar year.

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

At-risk-of-poverty threshold is 60 % of disposable income median recalculated per equivalent consumer.

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 is 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 is 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 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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