Four-hundred and forty thousand people in Finland do not earn enough to maintain a reasonable level of consumption, reports the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
THL estimates in a recently published report that people living alone are able to cover their reasonable living expenses, excluding housing expenses, with a monthly budget of 600–669 euros, depending on their age.
The housing expenses of home owners living alone are estimated at 156 euros a month, while those of tenants living alone are estimated at 388–540 euros a month, depending on their place of residence. Couples, meanwhile, need 1,126 euros a month to cover their reasonable living expenses and an additional 550–730 euros to cover their monthly rental costs, the report indicates.
THL argues that indicators based on household budgets provide a more comprehensive representation of poverty than relative poverty indicators, such as the at-risk-of-poverty rate used by Statistics Finland. A household is deemed to be at risk of poverty if its disposable income per consumption unit is below 60 per cent of the national median income.
Roughly 12.5 per cent of households, equivalent to 674,000 people, are currently at risk of poverty in Finland, according to the definition.
“The difference is attributable primarily to the fact that the minimum budget-based poverty threshold takes into account the lower housing expenses of home owners,” explains THL. “The minimum budget-based poverty threshold is 1,077–1,234 euros a month for tenants living alone, depending on their place of residence, and 837 euros [a month] for home owners living alone.”
THL also reveals that the socio-economic group most likely not to be able to maintain a reasonable level of consumption are students: one-quarter of students reported earnings lower than the minimum budget in 2014. No more than two to three per cent of people in employment or retirement, in contrast, fell short of the threshold.
Nearly one-fifth, or 19 per cent, of single parents similarly did not earn enough to maintain a reasonable level of consumption. The corresponding share for couples and two-parent families with children was 5 per cent and that for single-person households 16 per cent.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi