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Poverty drops to pre-pandemic level

In 2023, Portugal had a risk of poverty and social exclusion rate of 20.1%, the same as in 2022 and down from 22.4% in 2021, occupying 13th place in the European Union.

The data, released this Wednesday by Eurostat, puts the country in the same position it was in when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and below the EU's average (21.4%).

After falling to the 8th worst place in 2021, the country partially recovered to 12th in 2022. And in 2023 it returned to 13th, the position it held when COVID-19 spread around the world (2020).

In 2019, Portugal had a poverty and social exclusion rate of 20.1%. In 2020, it was 20%, the lowest figure since Eurostat invented this indicator. In 2021, it rose to 21.4%. And in 2022 it fell to 21.1%, a figure that remained the same in 2023.

A total of 94.6 million people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the European Union (EU) last year, representing 21.4% of the EU bloc's population.

The European statistical office indicates that the rate of the population at risk of poverty or social exclusion "decreased slightly" compared to 2022, when 22% of EU citizens (or 95.3 million) lived in households with at least one of the three risks of poverty and social exclusion: risk of poverty, severe material or social deprivation and/or being part of a household with very low labour intensity.

Among the member states, the highest rates of at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion were recorded last year in Romania (32 per cent), Bulgaria (30 per cent), Spain (27 per cent) and Greece (26 per cent) and the lowest in the Czech Republic (12 per cent), Slovenia (14 per cent), Finland and Poland (both 16 per cent).

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