Portugal has more than two million people living in poverty, numbers expected to rise amid pandemic

A study by Pordata has revealed that Portugal has improved “consistently” in its poverty and social exclusion, school dropout, and long-term unemployment indicators. But it still has a lower GDP per capita than the European average, and greater inequality.

The study by Pordata revealed that Portugal has 2.2 million people, that is, two out of ten residents, living in poverty and social exclusion.

The director of Pordata, Luísa Loura, told local newspaper Diario de Noticias  that it was important to monitor these indicators, at a time when Portugal is experiencing a health crisis, but also an economic and social crisis.

“There is no need to do futurology to realize that the indicator of poverty and social exclusion will worsen”, she told Diario de Noticias. “There will be new fringes, given the crisis we are experiencing, which will remain on the margins, but in a transitory situation because they will have higher education levels.”

Louro pointed to professionals in the culture sector, who have a high level of education, but who are being heavily penalised by the pandemic.

The data, based on information from Eurostat, shows that there are still 91 million people (21%) in poverty and social exclusion in the European Union (EU) and more than two million (22% of the population) are in Portugal , which still exceeded the poverty reduction target set for 2020 in 2017. 

Bulgaria, Romania and Greece have the highest poverty rates, and the countries with the lowest proportion are the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Finland (less than 12%). There are states that have seen their poverty levels rise since 2008, such as Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Denmark, Luxembourg, Estonia, Malta and Cyprus.