RIGA - The number of EU citizens at risk of poverty or social exclusion rose in 2011 to nearly 120 million, the Eurostat statistics agency said on Monday as the debt crisis continues to sap the economy.
It said in 2011, 119.6 million people or 24.2 percent of the population in the EU's 27 member states were at risk of poverty, social exclusion or living in very low-employment households, up from 23.4 percent in 2010 and 23.5 percent in 2008, writes LETA/AFP.
Bulgaria was most affected, with 49 percent of its people listed, followed by Romania and Latvia, each on 40 percent, Lithuania 33 percent, and then Greece and Hungary on 31 percent.
The Czech Republic had the lowest rate at 15 percent, with the Netherlands and Sweden each on 16 percent, and Luxembourg and Austria both at 17 percent.
Germany, the EU's biggest economy, was listed at 19.9 percent in 2011, down from 20.1 percent in 2008, with France at 19.3 percent, up from 18.6 percent.
Eurostat said that overall, some 17 percent of the EU's 500 million people were at risk of income poverty, while 9 percent counted as "severely materially deprived" and 10 percent were in households with very low employment rates.