In France, 3.6 million people accumulate monetary poverty and material deprivation

One in five is affected by at least one form of poverty (material or monetary) according to a recent INSEE study. The unemployed are four times more affected by this phenomenon than people in employment.

POUR ILLUSTRER LE PAPIER DE YANN OLLIVIER : “A STRASBOURG, UN BIDONVILLE DE ROMS REFUSE L’EXPULSION” – Une femme Rom pose avec son enfant, le 15 octobre 2008 dans le campement installé en bordure de l’autoroute A35 à Strasbourg. Des épaves de caravanes, des bambins qui s’ébattent dans le vacarme de l’autoroute sous l’oeil furtif des rats : malgré les dures conditions de vie dans ce bidonville de Roms, ses habitants refusent l’expulsion vers la Roumanie. AFP PHOTO FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN

Does the system of redistribution sufficiently protect the French from precariousness? The mobilizations of the “yellow vests” since last November 17 put forward the questions of inequalities and poverty at the center of the debates. According to INSEE estimates published this Tuesday, April 16, 5.5% of the population combines both monetary poverty and material and social deprivation and one in five is affected by one of two phenomena.

10 years after the crisis, the return of growth and the slow decline in unemployment have not helped to stem the phenomenon of poverty that persists despite the existence of social shock absorbers. Yet there is urgency. A recent barometer by the Ministry of Health shows that poverty is a major concern in 90% of low-income households and 80% of high-income households.

12% of French people consider themselves in a situation of material deprivation
The multiplication of poverty measurement indicators provides a better understanding of this protean phenomenon across France and the European Union. To enrich the debate, the organization relied on a new indicator of material deprivation. This tool “is based on the living conditions of a household.It will question individuals on 13 elements of their living conditions.For example, can they pay their rent or their invoice? meets five difficulties among 13 questions, it is considered that it is poor in the material and social sense, “said economist Julien Blasco at a press point. The results of the statistics institute indicate that France has a material and social deprivation rate of 12.7%. This places the French economy in a median position compared to the other countries of the European Union. “France thus has the 13th lowest rate of material and social poverty in the European Union,” added the author of the study.

9 million people living in poverty
More used in the debates, the rate of monetary poverty affects 13.6% of the French and 17.3% of the inhabitants of the European Union. “An individual is considered poor in the monetary sense if the standard of living of his household is lower than a lower poverty line set at 60% of the national median standard of living” recalls the agency in charge of public statistics. On this point, France is rather in a favorable position compared to the rest of the Old continent. “France has one of the lowest rates of the European Union in terms of income poverty, it is the sixth lowest rate in the European Union,” said Julien Blasco.

Extreme disparities in the European Union
The slow construction of the European Union and the late integration of countries with contrasting incomes with the countries of Northern and Western Europe have not made it possible to reduce the material divides between European citizens. Thus, while the rates of monetary poverty vary from 10% in the Czech Republic to 25% in Romania, “the dispersion for material deprivation is much greater in the European Union with a rate of 3% in Sweden against 50% in The lowest rates of deprivation in the material and social sense are found in Northern Europe (Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands) and the highest rates are found in the southern and eastern European countries. Is, especially in Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania “says Julien Blasco.

And the economic and social crisis of 2008 had a major impact on this last indicator. “There are many countries in the South and East that have seen their material and social deprivation rate increase dramatically with the 2008 economic and social crisis,” said Julien Blasco. For her part, the director of dissemination and regional action, Françoise Maurel recalled that “the major recession of 2008 that affected all industrialized countries has had differential effects on growth.In Germany, the GDP in terms of volume per capita has caught up with its pre-crisis level since 2011. This catch-up was later in France and was only reached in 2015 “.

Unemployed people hit by both types of poverty
People affected by income poverty and material deprivation are primarily unemployed. As a result, they are four times more affected than EU-employed and retired workers. Executives and intermediate professions are far less concerned than workers. The family situation can also have a dramatic impact on the phenomenon of poverty.

“The most affected family types are lone-parent families, whose poverty rates are three times higher than those of childless couples (respectively 34.0% and 11.7% for income poverty, and 32.0% 10.5% for material and social deprivation). ” In France, the situation of retirees is special. While their poverty rate is the lowest in Northern and Western Europe (7%), the material deprivation rate is the highest in this group of countries.

Breakdown of the social lift
While the effects of the welfare state are regularly advanced to explain the relative stability of the monetary poverty rate in France, the blockage of social mobility is less evoked. Yet, it is an essential factor in understanding the persistence of poverty in certain categories of the population. For example, the OECD calculated in 2018 that it took six generations for the descendants of low-income families to reach average income.

In addition to the lack of intergenerational mobility, the institution has also been interested in the evolution of a person’s income over the course of his life. And their conclusion is worrying. In terms of income, immobility is particularly visible when the authors are interested in lower categories of the population. According to OECD results, 64% of people in the bottom quintile (the bottom 20% of people with the lowest incomes) remain stuck at the bottom of the scale.

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