(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) In 2011, 119.6 million people, or 24.2% of the population, in the 27-member EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 23.4% in 2010 and 23.5% in 2008.
According to figures released by Eurostat, the EU statistical office, the highest shares of persons being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Bulgaria (49%), Romania and Latvia (both 40%), Lithuania (33%), Greece and Hungary (both 31%).
The lowest rates were in the Czech Republic (15%), the Netherlands and Sweden (both 16%), Luxembourg and Austria (both 17%).
In the EU, 9% of the population were severely materially deprived, meaning that they had living conditions constrained by a lack of resources such as not being able to afford to pay their bills, keep their home ade quately warm, or take a one week holiday away from home.
The share of those severely materially deprived varied significantly among Member States, ranging from 1% in Luxembourg and Sweden to 44% in Bulgaria and 31% in Latvia.