Latvia's population at risk of poverty increased in 2020 - statistics

  • 2021-12-27
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - As many as 439,000 residents of Latvia, or 23.4 percent of the population, were at risk of poverty in 2020, which is an increase of 1.8 percentage points against 2019, according to a survey conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) in 2021. 

Disposable income of these people was below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold.

As Latvians' disposable income rose last year, the at-risk-of-poverty threshold went up as well – to EUR 472 monthly in single person households (EUR 441 monthly in 2019). 

In households consisting of two adults with two children aged under 14 in 2020 at-risk-of-poverty threshold was EUR 991 monthly (EUR 972 monthly in 2019).

The largest share of population at risk of poverty was registered in Latgale (36 percent) and the smallest in Pieriga (16.1 percent) and Riga (17.8 percent). In Vidzeme 32 percent of  the population were at risk of poverty, in Kurzeme – 29.5 percent and in Zemgale 24.1 percent.

The risk of poverty increased most rapidly last year among the population over 65. In 2020, the share of older people at risk of poverty reached 44.6 percent (an increase of 3.7 percentage points since 2019). 

Among the population aged 50-64, the share of persons at risk of poverty reached 24 percent (an increase of 2 percentage points since 2019). 

The risk of poverty increased at a significantly slower rate among 25-49 year old persons and children under 17 (an increase of 1.1 percentage points since 2019). In 2020, 14.7 percent of the population aged 25-49 and 16.9 percent of children under 17 were at risk of poverty.

Pensioners (50.9 percent) and the unemployed persons (46.8 percent) were most at risk of poverty. The share of people at risk of poverty was lowest among the working population (9.8 percent).

Social transfers play an important role in reducing the risk of poverty, ranging from targeted state and local government support to pensions based on lifetime social tax contributions. The impact of social transfers on personal income has increased slightly in recent years. In 2020, support received from social transfers reduced the share of people at risk of poverty by 17.1 percentage points, the CSB said.

In the absence of social transfers, state and local government support, including old-age pensions, 40.5 percent of the population would be at risk of poverty. In 2019, social transfers diminished the risk of poverty by 16.8 percentage points and in 2018 by 16.4 percentage points.