More young people with low income
The proportion of young people (aged 18-34) with a persistent low income is increasing. This group constitutes nearly a third of all people with a persistent low income in the period 2009-2011.
Young people aged 18-34 years have the greatest probability of belonging to the group with a persistent low income. In the period 2009-2011, 11.4 per cent in this age group had a low income, compared to 7.7 per cent of the total population.
Falling proportion with a low income in the total population
The number of people in the population with a persistent low income dropped by almost 9 000 from the period 2006-2008 to 2009-2011.
The composition of the low-income group has changed significantly in recent years. The number of young people with a low household income has increased (13 000 since 2006-2008), while the number of elderly people (67 and over) has declined (23 000 since 2006-2008). While more than 16 per cent of the elderly were in the low-income group in the mid 2000s, this proportion fell to about 11 per cent in the period 2009-2011. This development may be explained by a substantial increase in the minimum state pension, new cohorts of old-age pensioners receiving earnings-related pensions to a larger extent than older cohorts of pensioners and the fact that more elderly combine employment with a pension.
Almost half of the children in the low-income group have an immigrant background
The proportion of children in households with a persistent low income has been stable in recent years. Simultaneously, the proportion of immigrant children in this group is increasing. Out of a total of almost 74 000 children that belonged to households with a low income in the period 2009-2011, about 34 000 had an immigrant background. This makes up 47 per cent of all children in the low-income group. By comparison, this proportion was 39 per cent in the period 2004-2006.
Persons are considered to have a persistent low income when their average income (per consumption unit) over a three-year period falls below the low-income threshold for the same period, i.e. the sum of equivalent income across the three years is less than the sum of the low-income threshold for the same three years.
The difference between the EU and the OECD definition is that the EU definition has a higher low-income threshold than the OECD (60 per cent of the median vs. 50 per cent of the median). In addition, the EU definition takes economies of scale within the households more into account than the OECD definition.