Relationship between poverty and material hardship of the elderly in the European Union

Nada Stropnik, Institute for Economic Research, Slovenia
Natasa Kump, Institute for Economic Research, Slovenia

The paper uses the EU-SILC 2005 database to investigate and compare the economic and material position of the elderly in the EU, and identify the factors influencing their situation. The elderly (persons aged 55 years and over) are compared with the population below 55 years of age. The New Member States are compared with Old Member States, and within-group differences are analysed. The methods applied include descriptive statistics, standard poverty and income inequality measures, and multivariate analysis. Both the absolute income of the elderly (median income and income structure) and their relative income position (income inequality and risk of poverty) are investigated. Particular attention is paid to the relation between the relative poverty and: 1) material hardship, and 2) subjective evaluation of one's economic position (inability to make ends meet). Material hardship includes: not being able to afford meals with meat, chicken, fish or vegetarian equivalent every second day; having arrears on utility bills, loan payments and mortgage; incapacity to face unexpected financial expenses; inability to keep home adequately warm; having bad housing conditions; having unmet need for medical or dental examination or treatment due to financial reasons; and not being able to afford one week annual holiday away from home. Multivariate analysis is used to identify the characteristics of elderly persons that determine their lower or higher risk of poverty and material hardship. Explanatory variables are: demographic variables (sex, age, attained educational level and living arrangement), economic characteristics (self-defined current economic status, most frequent activity status, number of years spent in paid work, work intensity of the household), tenure status, and general health status.

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Presented in Poster Session 1

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