The ‘working poor’ account for nearlyone in ten of the employed in the EU

The in-work at-risk-of-poverty (AROP) rate refers to the share of persons in the total population who have declared themselves to be in paid work (either as employed or self employed) with an equivalised household disposable income level below the risk-of-poverty threshold. This threshold is set at 60% of the national median equivalised household disposable income. The disposable income is assumed to be ‘after social transfers’, meaning it includes social benefits such as pensions and unemployment benefits. In the AROP data provided by Eurostat, ‘person at work’ is a person who spent at least half of the reference year in paid work.  Therefore, people with fragmented and discontinuous spells of employment are likely to be excluded, potentially underestimating the share of workers at risk of poverty.

Figure 2.23 shows the share of workers at risk of poverty, the so-called ‘working poor’, by various individual characteristics,such as gender, age and educational level, as wellas by type of employment. In 2017, nearly one in ten (9.6%)workers in the EU28 was at risk of poverty. Among men, the risk of poverty was slightly higher, at 10%, compared to 9.1% among women. The AROP was higher in 2017 compared to 2010, by nearly 16% among all workers. The increase was more pronounced among women, by 18% (or 1.4 pp). Young workers were, on average, at a higher risk of in-work poverty: in 2017, 12.5% of those aged 18–24 fell below the poverty threshold, up from 10.9% in 2010.

more information in Benchmarking Working Europe 2019 - Chapter 2 Labour market and social developments